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19 Community care

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1. Introduction

2. Who decides what sort of care I need?

3. Who pays if I get care in my home?

4. How much will I have to pay?

5. What if I am coming out of hospital?

6. What happens if I need to move into a care home?

7. What if I need nursing care?

8. Will I have to sell my home?

9. What benefits may I claim?

10. What choice of home do I have?

11. What if I want to move to a care home that costs more than the council will pay?

12. What if my move into a home is temporary?

You may need to go into a home temporarily - perhaps for a short-term break, while you get over an illness, or while you're waiting for a place in sheltered housing. Your assessment should show whether your stay will be temporary or permanent.

You should not be charged anything for a short-term stay that is part of 'intermediate care'. There may be charges to pay for other temporary stays, but the rules for working out how much you pay towards them allow for the fact that you will still have your own home to keep up. Any charge must be 'reasonable'.

If you are going to be in the home for only a short time, the council does not have to do a 'means test' (a test to see if you are able to get financial help) for the first eight weeks of your stay.

If you are means tested for a temporary stay, the council looks at your income and savings in the same way as if you are staying permanently. However, there are some important conditions relating to how it does this.

  • The value of your home cannot be included in the assessment if you plan to go back and live there after your stay, or if you are trying to sell it to buy somewhere that will better suit your future needs.
  • The council won't take into account certain parts of your income, including any benefits you get to help towards your housing costs (for example, Housing Benefit or Income Support housing costs).
  • The council must take account of bills you still have to pay for your home (for example, rent, mortgage payments, water rates and home insurance).

You may be able to get Income Support (if you are under 60) or Pension Credit (if you are over 60) to help you pay any fees while you are temporarily in a home.  The rules are different to those for permanent residents:

  • You will be treated as if you were still living in your own home. So if the 'amount of your savings means you're not entitled to Income Support or Pension Credit at home', neither can you get it when you're temporarily in a care home.
  • The value of your home is not counted in your capital for a temporary stay.
  • You are not assessed separately from your husband or wife or partner. So the amount of capital and income you have between you will be considered in deciding whether you are entitled to any benefits. Pension Credit is calculated at the couple's rate, but the partner staying at home should be left with enough income for their needs.

As with permanent care, 'liable relatives' can be asked to help pay for the cost of your temporary stay.

13. What rights do I have when I am in a care home?

14. What if I have difficulty getting the care I need?

15. Further Help

16. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC).  It was written in association with Sue Bloomfield, a freelance consumer affairs writer.

The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.

Leaflet Version: May 2019

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