Date: Mon 01 Mar 2010

Nursing Home Fees

Can you protect your family home?

If you have been prudent and saved or stood on your own two feet and bought your own property you are likely to get no help from the Government when it comes to paying nursing home fees. Some people think that is right. That those who have savings or a property don't deserve to be helped. Personally I think it's unfair. Most of us pay taxes and National Insurance contributions all our working lives. We don't take a lot out and we were told that when we got older, those contributions would cover our needs. And then they changed the rules.

Nursing Home fees can range between £500 a week to over a £1,000 a week depending on the amount of care needed. If you need to go into a home, the first 12 weeks are not means tested. You get some state help towards the cost however much you have. After 12 weeks it is means tested and if you have assets over £23,000 you get no help.

If you own a home of your own and live in it alone or with a child under 60, its value will be included when seeing if you are worth more than £23,000

The home will not be included if your husband or wife or certain relatives such as a child over 60 continue to live in it.

If a property is given away to an adult child or children well before you need to go into care, it may be exempt. But giving it away has to be done properly and early enough. Leave it too late or do it the wrong way and it may still be treated as if it were all yours.

If you give savings away well before going into care, they may be exempt. But, again, any such gifts have to made in good time and in the right way if they are to be safe.

If your health is very bad, you may qualify to have all your Nursing Home costs covered by the National Health regardless of how much savings or property you have. But that is decided by your local Council's Social Services department and most of them are notorious for refusing perfectly justified cases and to get a fair assessment you will probably have to appeal against an automatic first time refusal.

As you can see, it's not a simple situation and proper advice may be very helpful to you and your family.

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