While the number of individuals needing long term care continues to increase, so do the costs associated with paying for that care. In fact, it is anticipated that there will be 130,000 new residents admitted to care in the next year. These individuals can suffer from a number of different conditions, including disabilities, illnesses, injuries resulting from accidents, and long term or chronic conditions. Nearly 60% of these new residents will have to provide funding for their own care as they will have assets valued above the upper means test threshold. That threshold currently stands at £23,250.

When you know that you need to enter into long term care, you will be assessed as to your exact care needs. This will include going over information about your particular conditions and the level of support you may need. Once it is determined exactly what level of care you need, a means assessment will then be carried out by your local authority. This means assessment is performed on you to help gauge your ability to pay for your own care. During this means test, anything of value that you have available to you will be taken into account. This includes any and all sources of income, savings, investments, and property.

There are of course exceptions to the income and assets that can be counted during your means test. For example, if you live in a property that you own, it will most likely be taken into account during the test. However, the property can be disregarded if it is to remain the home of your spouse or civil partner. The property can also be waived if you have another relative living with you that is over the age of 60 or if there is a dependent child living in the home that is under age 16. The home can also be discounted if you have a family member who is under age 60 move into the property for the sole purpose of taking care of you as a caregiver. In this particular instance, that family member would have had to give up their own home in order for your property to not be counted in the means assessment.

Not only is property scrutinized and included, but any other forms of savings, income, or even investments will be counted. There are, of course, some exceptions that can be made when counting these assets as well. For example, if you have an income that is required to support a spouse or partner you will normally be allowed to leave a proportion of this to help maintain their financial situation. Also, if you have any single premium investment bonds they will be excluded at they are classed as insurance policies. They fall under this category because upon death they would normally offer a guaranteed payment. However, it should be noted that if a bond is providing a regular income this particular investment would be included. Also noteworthy is how savings are calculated in the means assessment. If savings are held on a joint basis with a spouse or partner, then 50% of the value will be considered in the assessment.

If after your means assessment, you find that you are classified as a self-funder and must pay for your own care, there may still be some assistance available to you. For example, it is possible that you could still benefit from an attendance allowance if you are aged over 65. You may also find that you qualify for a disability living allowance if you are under age 65 which can help in some way towards the cost of your residential care. An attendance allowance is based on the care that you need rather than the level of care that you might be currently receiving. So that means that you may still receive this benefit even if you aren’t current receiving any support from a carer at the present time. You may also still be entitled to this benefit if you have a mental or physical disability. This disability would need to warrant supervision in order to ensure that you do not put yourself in any harmful situations. For the disability living allowance, you may qualify if you are under age 65 but have a hard time getting around if you need help with basic activities such as dressing, eating, using the toilet, or washing yourself. This benefit is tax free and the amount depends on exactly what help you need. Both the disability allowance and the attendance allowance are tax free which is an additional benefit.