The NHS is responsible for paying for people in care that are deemed to have a health need but with experience, we have found that the NHS avoid their duties thereby avoiding funding people’s care and instead, the person in care has to use their assets to fund their care.
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When a person enters a care home, the NHS Continuing Healthcare Assessment should usually be completed before any questions about the financial situation are asked. However, this is not usually the case. This page discusses the property disregard that should be taken into account if a person is means tested to decide how much they should pay for care.
If a person is only staying in care for a temporary period then any property they own should not be taken into account.
Even if it looks like the person will have a permanent stay in care, their property should be disregarded for the first 12 weeks. After that, the property will be taken into account but there are some disregards that you should be aware of. It is not uncommon for the Local Authority to omit these disregards when assessing the assets.
The value of the person’s home must be disregarded if it is occupied. It only applies to certain relatives including;
- The person’s partner or spouse
- Relative that is over the age of 60 or under 16
- A person who is incapacitated
Outside of these people, the Local Authority has discretion whether to disregard the property must they must be reasonable in their decision.
The Local Authority may struggle to take account the value of the property if a person has a beneficial interest in the property. This could be another owner listed on the title deeds whether the property is held as tenants in common or joint tenants.
Another example is when a Property Settlement Trust has been drawn up meaning the person entering care has the right to reside in the property but it is held on trust for a different person and when the person entering care fails to reside permanently at the property, the person it is held on trust for is now the full beneficial owner.
There have been many disputes over the years in relation to the Local Authority incorrectly taking the value of a property into account or disputing that the owners of the property intentionally deprived the Local Authority of care fees.
If you need any advise whatsoever relating to the property disregards then please do get in touch. We have had cases where the husband was still residing at the property and the Local Authority had forced him to sell the property even though it should not have been taken into account… if you or a family member is going through the same thing, get in touch.