Domiciliary Care (care at home)

If you are over 65, living in Scotland, and have been assessed by the Social Work Department of your Local Authority as needing care at home, they will provide it free of charge, although you will still need to pay for non-personal care such as cleaning, day care, laundry, meals on wheels, etc. yourself. This doesn't affect your entitlement to Attendance Allowance nor to the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

If you are under 65, it is means tested and each local authority applies different criteria as to whom they will help, dependent on need.

Care in a Care Home

In Scotland, the cost of care in a care home is broken down into three constituent parts:

•    "Hotel" or accommodation costs

•    Personal Care

•    Nursing Care

On the face of it, the Scottish Government is more generous than its English counterpart as (providing your needs have been assessed by the local Social Work Department), it will make flat rate contributions towards any Personal and, if necessary, Nursing Care required, based on need and not financial means; a means test is only carried out to determine eligibility for "Hotel" or accommodation costs. The current contributions are: £163 per week for Personal Care £74 per week for Nursing Care

However, a contribution to Personal Care is only made if you are over 65; futher, if it is made, any  entitlement to Attendance Allowance and the Care Component of Disability Living Allowance (currently £77.45 per week at the higher rate or £51.85 per week at the lower/middle rate) is lost.

Means Testing

Means testing in Scotland is only done to assess eligibility for a contribution to "Hotel" or accommodation costs.
Those with personal capital assessable assets and/or one half of any jointly held assessable assets exceeding only £24,750 have to pay for all of their accommodation costs.

Only those with assessable assets worth less than £15,250 qualify for the maximum Local Authority contribution.  The contribution is often known as the "standard rate" or "contract rate".  Unlike in England, this rate doesn't vary from one local authority to another as there is a National Care Home Contract (NCHC) which standardises terms and conditions for local authority funded residents. During 2011/12 the standard rate is £565.96 with nursing care£487.20 without nursing care.

If a care home which charges above the standard rate is chosen, then you will have to pay the difference.

Even where the full standard rate is payable, the local authority will claw back all your income bar your Personal Expenses Allowance (£23.50 per week) and, if over 65, your Pension Savings Disregard (£5.80 per week forsingle people or £8.70 per week for couples).

Those whose capital falls in between the upper and lower capital thresholds will have the value of any capital exceeding the lower threshold converted into notional "income" at a rate of £1 extra "notional income" for every £250 worth of capital exceeding the lower limit.  This  notional income is added to any actual income received. The total is then compared to the cost of accommodation. If your combined weekly income figure exceeds the cost of care, once again you would need to pay for your own care until your capital reduced to such a level as the income didn't meet the cost of care. If the income falls short of the care cost, funding would only be available for the difference, up to a maximum of the standard rate.

If your assessable capital exceeds £24,750 and, therefore, you have to pay for your own accommodation, it may pay to seek professional care fees advice and to look at how much a care fee annuity would cost.

For further information on the above please contact: Donald Jardine, Partner, Personal Legal, Blair Cadell on 0131 555 5800