Easy Ways of Funding Care – Two Quick Wins
Family members often complain that “Mum (or Dad) has paid into the system all their life and isn’t entitled to anything back!”. That’s not quite true.
The trick is to find non-means tested benefits that everyone can access with a little bit of work. Here are two:
Attendance allowance is extra money to help with your care needs if you’ve reached State Pension Age. Lots of people are entitled to Attendance Allowance but don’t know enough about it to claim. It is not means-tested! You may be eligible to claim Attendance Allowance if:
- You are over State Pension age.
- You have a long-term physical or mental illness or disability. This can include sight and hearing difficulties, mental health issues and cognitive impairments such as dementia.
- You have needed help with personal care or regular supervision from someone else for at least six months. You can claim whether or not you actually receive this help or supervision. Personal care tasks could include things like washing and bathing, dressing and undressing, getting in or out of bed, and taking medication.
- If you're terminally ill, you can claim Attendance Allowance immediately.
Attendance Allowance is paid at two different rates, depending on the level of care that you need:
Lower rate – £57.30 per week (if you need care or supervision during the day or night)
Higher rate – £85.60 per week (if you need care or supervision during the day and night, or if you're terminally ill)
Your level of income and savings aren’t taken into account when deciding if you’re eligible for Attendance Allowance, and you don’t have to spend your Attendance Allowance on care – it’s up to you how you spend the money.
Attendance Allowance will not reduce other benefits you receive, such as Pension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support. In some cases, you may find that if you are awarded Attendance Allowance you’re entitled to higher rates of these other benefits because of your extra needs.
For more detailed information about Attendance Allowance, please go to Independent Age. Independent Age is a charity providing free, clear and impartial advice and resources on remaining independent into older age.
Council Tax Rebates for People Living With Dementia
Did you know that you can get a discount on the council tax of someone living with dementia? A family I know has just applied to their local authority and managed to secure a 25% reduction in their father's council tax bill because he has dementia. For someone living with severe mental impairment, validated by their GP, the discount is applicable. Now's the time of year when those Council tax bills are landing on our doormats and it seems that many people are missing out on this non-means tested tax reduction. The Alzheimer's Society has a good guide here which explains the scope of the rebate scheme which also benefits carers, too. The process is very straightforward and all you need to do is to contact your local authority's Council tax department and they will send you the correct form to complete. They should backdate any rebate to the date of diagnosis.
John Kirk is a Senior Care Consultant with over 14 years’ experience in senior care including leading a large residential & nursing care home group, high quality care at home services and the provision of specialist consultancy services to residential, nursing and domiciliary care providers.