5. Money, benefits and legal issues > Money and benefits

Money and benefits

16) Money rules for care homes (1)

The rules for payment for care homes can be complex depending on the persons care needs and financial circumstances. Seeking specific advice is always best. (See links to independent advice services on the following page) The following is a brief outline which applies to Scottish law only.

  • All Scottish local authorities have to follow set guidelines for charges for care homes. These are set out in the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide. (CRAG)
  • The local authority sets a maximum limit on the sum of money per week it will allow for those who are eligible to claim for payments for care homes. To be eligible the person would be expected to pay for their care home from their savings funds until they drop below the maximum limit. This is based on the Care Needs Assessment and the persons Financial Assessment if the person wishes to make a claim. The financial assessment includes weekly income, capital savings including income from stocks or bonds and sometimes other income such as rental property.
  • There are two rates one for people who require personal care needs and another for those who require nursing care. Personal care is free in Scotland ( Correct at time of website publication December 2011) Personal care includes help to wash,bathe,dress and meal preparation. Charges will be made for other living costs. There is a limit to the amount of personal assets and savings you can have before payments will be given. The person will be assessed on individual rather than joint income. If they are married or have a civil partner, any joint savings may be split. If the carer has their own income, this should not be taken into account.
  • The local authority has to meet the assessed need for the individual person, however, some care homes charge more than others or offer additional services. The person may be assessed as requiring residential care only or they may also have physical needs which require nursing care. The person could choose a more expensive care home, which is above the local authority set limit, but any additional cost would need to be “topped up” from the person’s own assets or their family, if a cheaper care home place is available which would meet the person’s needs.
  • If the person received Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment these benefits would stop 4 weeks after admission to care home unless the whole cost of the care is being met by the resident themselves or the arrangements have been made without any assistance from a local authority.
  • If the person is joint owner of a property which their husband/wife or civil partner still lives in, it cannot be sold.  Payments may be deferred until after the property is sold at a later date when the partner moves for example. Seek advice as there may be interest to be paid if someone inherits the property which is then sold. Interim funding may be available if the person going into the care home is in the process of selling but has not yet sold their property.

For more information on choosing a care home for your relative please see Topic 6: Support for you the carer > Dealing with a long term condition on this website.