Paying for care is not a small matter. Whether it is care provided at home or in a residential care home, costs of care services can quickly add up to a significant amount. Today, as care during old age has become a ubiquitous need, it is more important than ever to understand the care system and to plan for long term care in advance.
In the UK, the state and the NHS provide help with costs of care to those who may be eligible to receive it subject to a means test in the case of certain benefits, and a needs test in the case of others. The system is different in Scotland, England and Wales. Let us first consider the and its implications on the elderly.
For residents of Scotland over the age of 65, care at home is given free of charge, provided the local council has assessed that care is required. In such a case, the cost of care to be met by the individual is limited to personal living costs and the potential cost of daycare. This type of assistance from the local council does not affect other benefits such as attendance allowance, disability benefits etc.
For long term care to be provided in a residential care home, the regulations are slightly different. While a financial means test is not necessary for those who need care in their own home, such a test is required in Scotland for those who need to live in a care home. Care in a residential facility is divided into three parts the costs of accommodation; costs of nursing care; and cost of personal care.
A financial assessment is undertaken by the local council so that your contribution can be calculated. The threshold amounts change every year and you can find up-to-date information from the social services department of your local council or from a specialist advisor.
While the means test in England and Wales is done to calculate how much contribution is to be made towards all the costs of care in Scotland the means test is only carried out in case of residential care. Also, the means test only applies to the fees for accommodation, and not for the costs of personal and nursing care. As such, the Scottish system for long term care benefits seems more generous than that in England and Wales. As is usually the case in most areas of life.
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