LEGAL EAGLE: Paying for care home fees

My mum is having to sell her house to pay her care home fees. I thought the government said they would stop this from happening. Is there anything I can do about this?

The government said it would introduce a cap on care fees of £72,000 and claimed that this would mean nobody had to sell their house to pay their fees.

 However, they said that the first £12,000 per year of care home fees would be considered as daily living costs rather than care costs.

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 Anyone paying care home fees would therefore have to pay at least £12,000 per year for as long as they were in a care home anyway in addition to the £72,000 of care costs. For many people that would have meant having to sell their house anyway.

The government has now delayed the introduction of the cap on care fees until April 2020.

It may be that the government will scrap the cap on fees altogether. If it is ever introduced it is not yet clear exactly how it will operate.

Many people believe that introducing a cap will be unworkable because even now there is not enough funding for people’s care.

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Unfortunately, if your mum has more than £23,750 in capital then at least for now she will have to continue to pay all of the care home fees herself unless she is entitled to have them paid by the NHS.

If your mum has significant problems with her health and this is why she needs to be in a care home then she should be assessed to see whether her care home fees should be paid by the NHS.

If her needs are primarily health needs rather than social care needs then the NHS should pay her care home fees.

In order to assess whether your mum has a primary health need, various professionals involved in your mum’s care should meet to discuss what level of need she has in relation to a number of domains such as her cognition, her mobility and her psychological and emotional needs.

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If your mum is assessed as not having a primary health need and you disagree with this then it is possible to challenge that decision. You must notify the NHS within six months if you wish to challenge the decision.

The best thing you can do is ask for a continuing healthcare assessment to be carried out to establish whether the NHS should be paying the fees.