When the money runs out

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by Imageo, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Imageo

    Imageo Registered User

    Aug 24, 2014
    Hello All,
    It looks as if it's time to call again on the combined wisdom of the forum from distant Australia to clarify the next steps in my Mum's slow and now very confused passage through the care home process. Mum's been in the home for almost a year (continuing slow deterioration in mental faculty/memory) and we've now reached the point where her savings have been drawn down except for the +/-23,000 pounds which she's notionally allowed to keep, I gather. The only income she has is her pension money. My sibling in the UK, who's struggling with the procedures, has been told she may have to top-up the pension + LA payments (she has virtually no cash assets herself to top-up with) or can move Mum to a cheaper place. Can anyone advise me on likely events from here and what the worst case scenario is if we dig our heels in and say 'can't pay' ? Is the 23,000 pounds entirely secure or can the home/LA access that under such circumstances ?
    Thanks for your input one and all,
  2. loveahug

    loveahug Registered User

    Nov 28, 2012
    Moved to Leicester
    The £23.25k is not secure, it is the point where the LA assistance steps in. It's only when the assets drop below £14.25k that full funding cuts in. You will not have to find a cheaper place if you can prove that the place your mum is in totally meets her needs (including rights to family visits etc) and there is nothing cheaper which will. There is no legal requirement on any of the family to pay top-ups.

    At the moment your mum should be getting full Attendance Allowance, her state pension plus any private income and paying the balance of her care home fees from her assets. Once she is fully funded the attendance allowance stops and the LA makes up the difference between her income and her fees, she is allowed to keep £23.50 per week to fund her clothes, toiletries, hairdressing, chiropodist etc.

    If I've misunderstood something, I do hope others will put us right...

    Good luck x
  3. Saffie

    Saffie Registered User

    Mar 26, 2011
    Near Southampton
    #3 Saffie, Oct 1, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2015
    No, if your mother is in a home in England, the £23,250 is certainly not secure.
    In fact, payment from this amount continues to be taken on a sliding scale towards the fees subsidised by the LA until the amount reaches £14,250.
    That is the amount your mother will be allowed to keep.
    The LA can also take more from the £23,250 if they think it necessary too and they didn't start to subsidise my husband's fees until his capital reached £18,000. (This was because I had left our utility direct debits in our joint account rather than paying for them from my own account when he was self-funding. The fact that the bills come to nowhere near that amount appeared to be lost on them!

    I'm confused by your sister saying she will have to top-up the pension and the LA payments as it doesn't work like that. All your mother's pension will go towards her fees, except a weekly allowance of roughly £24 a week.
    The rest of the fees will be paid by the LA - but only up to the amount necessary for your mother reside in a home that can satisfy her needs.
    Therefore, if your mother remains where she is and the fees are more than that amount and there is a cheaper home which would meet her needs, then yes, a move or a top-up may be necessary.
    In my area that top-up could be more than the highest amount the LA are prepared to pay as fees are around £1,000 a week and the LA will only pay around £460.
    So a lot of thought has to go into making the decision to top -up as these can also increase annually.

    Those are the basic facts but there is sometimes room for manoevre. If your mother is poorly, then it could be argued that a move would prove detrimental to her health.
    The LA can arrange cheaper contracts with homes due to their bulk booking so the fees your mother is now paying may be lowered anyway.

    I'm assuming that your mother has no home to sell.
    It must be difficult to try to help your sister to deal with this from so far away. I do hope the SWs are being supportive.
  4. Imageo

    Imageo Registered User

    Aug 24, 2014
    Thanks Loveahug and saffie

    Thanks Loveahug and saffie, that explains the significance of the £14,000 pounds level that my sister mentioned. It sounds as if she's secure where she is for a while on the co-funding basis (Mum's funds and LA contributions) until we reach that level which will not be far down the track I imagine at the rate the home charges (neither the cheapest nor the most expensive). Mum currently only has cash assets which are fairly rapidly declining as you can imagine.

    By top-up I was referring to her/us having to add funds into the care home costs since the pension and LA allowance, which pay part of the bill, (rather than as I unintentionally implied) certainly won't cover the whole account even if the LA negotiates a reduced rate. Will the LA automatically do this or does it need some action from our side to trigger this rate change ?

    Given the trouble we had finding a cheaper place originally we shouldn't have too much trouble, I wouldn't think, proving that the current home 'totally meets her needs (including rights to family visits etc)'. Fingers crossed that we don't have to move Mum, she's not happy where she is but it would be worse if she had to move - I'm sure you're familiar with that scenario.

    Thanks very much for your help. I'll report back to my sister.

    All the best,

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.