Blair Cadell offer some tips and advice on this increasingly important topic

Domiciliary Care (care at home)

If you are over 65, living in Scotland and have been assessed by the Social Work Service 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 or Care component of Disability living allowance.

If you are under 65 it is means tested and each local authorities apply different criteria as to who 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

The Scottish Government on the face of it is more generous than the English as in Scotland providing your needs have been assessed by your local Social Works Department, they will make flat rate contributions towards any Personal and if necessary Nursing Care you require, based on need and not financial means. A Financial means test is only carried out to determine whether you have to pay for any "Hotel" or accommodation costs. The amount they are currently prepared to pay is:

  • £163 per week Personal Care contribution
  • £74 per week if Nursing Care is required (2011/12)

However, Personal Care contribution is only made if you are over 65 and then if you take it you lose your entitlement to Attendance Allowance or the Care Component of the Disability Living Allowance, worth currently £77.45 per week at the higher rate or £51.85 per week at the (lower rate - for Attendance Allowance) or (middle rate if Disability Living Allowance).

Means Testing

Means testing in Scotland is only done to see if you would also qualify for help towards "Hotel" or accommodation costs.
Those with personal capital assessable assets (and ½ of any jointly held assessable assets) exceeding only £24,750 (2012/13) have to pay for all of their accommodation costs.

Only those currently below: £15,250 (2012/13) qualify for the maximum Local Authority budget, 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 this sets the standard rate at

  • £565.96 with nursing care
  • £487.20 without nursing care

Of course you can choose a care home which charges above your Local Authority's standard rate but you or a third party, will have to pay the difference.

Even where you do qualify for the maximum local authority funding, they will take all your income bar your Personal Expenses Allowance (£23.50 per week 2012/13) and if over 65, £5.80 per week (if single) or £8.70 per week (if a couple) (2012/13) Pension Savings Disregard, away from you as contributions towards their funding.

Those whose capital falls in between the upper and lower capital thresholds will have the value of any capital exceeding the Lower limits theoretically converted into "income" at a rate of £1 extra "notional income" for every £250 worth of capital exceeding the lower limit.

This is then added to any actual income received or you would be eligible for, if you claimed it, e.g. benefits. The total is then compared to the actual 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 combined income, however, falls short of the required care costs, the local authority would fund only the difference.

Clearly, should your assessable capital exceed £24,750 (2012/13) and, therefore, you have to pay for your own accommodation.

If you would like any further advice on this please contact Paul Hogarty on 0131 555 5800 or