15 Jul How to Apply for Home Care Funding From Your Local Authority
It’s natural to want to look after family members as they get older – whether that’s helping with the shopping, visiting, or sorting out doctor’s appointments. There may come a time, though, when the care they need is either too complex, or demanding for you to cope alone. That’s when professional home care becomes valuable.
What is Home Care Support?
Home care provides personalised care packages for people needing help with their day-to-day activities. This can be as simple as help with cooking and cleaning, or it can extend to a more complex 24 hour care package. The aim of home care is always to maintain independence where possible, support existing family care, and to respect people’s cultural, spiritual and lifestyle preferences.
How is Home Care Funded?
Professional support in the home can be funded privately or, in some cases, with help from the local authority. Many families start out by funding home care themselves and then look into applying for government funding as the support needs become more complex. Wherever you are on this journey, it’s as well to know the funding process, in case you may need it.
Step 1 – Arrange a Needs Assessment
This is the basis of your application for funding because it defines the care support needed. The assessment is free and its supplied by your local authority. It may be carried out in person, by phone, or via an online assessment. Following the needs assessment, your local authority will recommend the services required. These might take the form of:
- Care at home: washing, dressing, supervision
- Disability equipment or home adaptations
- Practical support: laundry, shopping, cooking
- Sheltered housing
- Residential care
Step 2 – A Financial Assessment is Arranged
If your relative is assessed and found eligible for care, the local authority will arrange for a ‘financial assessment’. This is also referred to as a ‘means test’. The assessment will determine how much you will contribute, and how much the government will contribute to care. This is based on assets, savings and income.
The following thresholds apply in England only:
- £23,250 and over – no funding from the local authority
- £14,250 – £23,250 – part funding from local authority. You will pay £1 for every £250 savings
- £14,250 and under – maximum support from the local authority.
Step 3 – Statement of Charges
Once the financial assessment has been completed, you’ll be sent a statement of charges by the local authority. This tells you how the assessment has been calculated, the amount you’ll need to pay for your care, and the contribution the government will make. Local authority contributions are called a ‘personal budget’.
Step 4 – Direct Payment of Personal Budget
A personal budget allows families to make choices about how to access the care recommended by your needs assessment. You can choose who will provide your home care. A direct payment will be made into your bank account each month, and this will be used to pay the home care provider directly. You can also choose to leave the process of providing care to social services, in which case no direct payment is made.
Step 5 – Selecting an Appropriate Home Care Provider
A needs assessment provides you with a list of the requirements you need fulfilled by a professional carer. This gives you the baseline for considering local providers. Draw up a shortlist by looking at what they offer, reading their Care Quality Commission (CQC) reports, and reading reviews. Make a list of the questions you want to ask of each provider on your shortlist, and organise a meeting with all of them before deciding.
About Bedfordshire Supported Housing Home Care
We are a person-centred, experienced provider of home care. We’re currently providing personal care, dementia care and palliative care for elderly people across Bedfordshire. Our tailored care packages begin with the needs of your relative, and encompass their interests, hobbies, values and approach to life. Our aim is to enhance the wellbeing of those we care for, and we’re always delighted to work closely with family members to fulfil the very best outcomes for them.
If you need support and expert advice, or guidance on the process of applying for home care local authority funding, call our home care team on 0123 4954415