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Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?! - Page 5 - Carers UK Forum

Residential care - what happens when your money runs out?!

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
70 posts
Do you have PoA for your mum? If so, surely it's up to you if you want to pay her top ups from her own money? (I don't quite see why SS say she can't pay them from her own money??????) (assuming she has any?)

Being a bit 'cunning' if your mum's care home is not that keen on keeping her as she is 'difficult'.....could they with their knowledge maybe help you find an alternative care home that does not require topping up, but isn't as grim as the one's you've seen?

Maybe even a longer distance care home?

My MIL moved from Home Counties to a dementia care home in the west country - the difference in fees is marked. up here it would have cost her £1100 a week - in the west country it's £700.

Since MIL has dementia, she isn't that bothered any more about not seeing me every week, as she has little sense of the passing of time any more. I visit once a month and stay locally (I have family nearby which helps obviously) and take her out several times. She doesn't any more seem to have noticed that I have not visited for a while.

(I appreciate it's different from me as she is my MIL, not my mum, so there is less emotional desire by me to see her constantly.)

Do you feel your mum is more, or less, anxious when she does or does not see you, or is she just constantly anxious the whole time? So sad.
Hi Marianne
I've just signed a similar agreement but as my Mum will be self funding and this is only for the 2 weeks respite she is having before she goes full time, I'm not in your situation. However looking through the papers it seems to me that you have agreed to be the 'Third Party Contributor' towards your Mum's care costs. It states on my piece of paper that if the third party defaults on the payments then the LA have the right to terminate the contract with a week's notice and move Mum to a cheaper Home.
I completely understand why you have chosen a nicer Home for your Mum, but unfortunately 'nicer' means 'costs more' and the LA have a number of places in Homes which you have turned down. They will not pay for 'better', just 'standard'.
Now the thing I find interesting is that they say Mum can't use her own savings to pay for the Home as she has less than £23K. I think this is tied up with their responsibility not to make her drain her savings below a certain level but pay for her care themselves. BUT they have limits and cannot pay for 'nicer'. (To take it to extremes, if you had found a luxury Home charging £2000.00 a week, would you expect the council to pay?)
However, I wonder whether Mum couldn't pay YOU for something. Perhaps petrol/travel expenses, or for looking after her money or acting as her secretary. Mum is allowed to give you a 'gift' of a few thousand pound every year. Anything. I think it might be an idea to get some legal advice as to how much you can take out of Mum's savings to pay yourself, or as a 'gift' to yourself and then you pay the top up from your bank account. I think that might be a way round this. However do get advice. Maybe this help line?
In the meantime you have agreed to be the third party contributor . This, in a pretend conversation, is what has happened-
Council:- Yes your mum needs to be in a Care Home, and we will pay. These are the Care Homes she can go in.
You:- But I don't like these Care Homes, I want Mum to go to this one.
Council:- She can go to that Home, but it is too expensive for us. Will you pay the extra costs?
You:- Yes I will.
Council:- OK. Sign here please.

If you get that advice, try the Help line, Citizen's Advice or a free hour from a solicitor, which some solicitors do, and you can pay yourself from Mum's money, then all will be well. Problem will come when/if Mum runs out of money, then you and your siblings will have to cough up.
Good luck
I apologize in advance for being harsh, but if your mother is likely to live for an unpredictable time, I do not think you should be bankrupting yourself in two months to stave off the evil day which may come anyway when she needs to go to a worse home. I wonder if the Carers UK helpline could help you here maybe to back out of the agreement while it is still fresh, or to leave it in place for a week or two only. The helpline is busy and it is said to be better to email them first and have them call you back. Of course try to find alternatives for her, but at the same time it is in no one's interest if you can't afford it. How recently did you send the form off?
Hi Marianne ...

Your post touches on something that has perplexed me for a while!

Local authority funding is available once a person's savings reach the c£23,000 limit. Top-ups cannot be paid from the remaining capital. So what is it for??? There will be no property to maintain, as that will have already been sold, and I cannot understand what other major purchases may be required. Yes, I'm sure that some offspring might like to know that it's "ring-fenced" as their inheritance, but am also sure that there's an equal number that would be more than happy to forgo that inheritance if it means that it could be used to pay top-ups to allow their parent to remain in their current care home.

My mother has been in her care home for three years now and (very luckily!) has a good few years to go yet before savings are diminished and her property has to be sold. Thinking ahead (theoretically), what's to stop her spending all her savings down to the last, say, £500.? Together with her income from pensions, attendance allowance etc., that c£23,000 would pay for at least another year in her current care home. She could then go to the LA with no savings.

I wonder if you have considered the following. If you were to add together your mother's savings, her current income (I assume she is in receipt of the state pension plus AA at a minimum) plus whatever you could pay (sensibly - without causing yourself serious financial problems), then how long would that buy in her current care home as a self-funder? I appreciate that it may not be that long, but would possibly give you some more "wiggle room" and would get over the problem of not being able to pay top-ups out of her savings.

Or have I missed something fundamental here???
Hi Pennie I think what you have missed is that while a person living at home, but likely to need Home Care shortly can reasonably pay for a new boiler when their central heating has broken down, or repairs to the roof for example, they cannot buy their son a new expensive car, give their daughter £10,000.00 or pay for private schooling for their great grandchildren. This kind of spending counts as reducing their assets with the idea of then expecting the LA to fund their future care. The LA will count any such money as still belonging to the person needing care and count it in with the remaining assets. They don't let you spend, spend, spend and then hold your hand out for funding.
Surely, if the LA doesn't allow the resident to pay their own top up fees out of what's left of their money below the critical £23k mark, there is nothing to stop the resident paying back the top up fees paid by family members to that family member?

So, LA pays most of the fees, family member pays the top up, and then resident pays back the top up amount to the family member.

Obviously that will require PoA to enable that repayment to take place.

The family member should NOT be out of pocket over top up fees! (I guess they could rely on their parents will to repay them after death, but if there are contesting relatives for the remaining £23k, they may well not get back all the money they've forked out in top up fees - plus there is the problem of cash flow and just funding the top up fees until the parent dies....)
Hi Elaine ...

My post referred to those already in permanent residential care and I am not talking about deliberate deprivation of assets.

To take a hypothetical scenario ...

A person goes into permanent residential care and is self-funding. After a period of time all capital (savings, revenue from sale of house etc.) has been used and they're down to their last £23,250. At this point they are entitled to request funding from their local authority. The amount the LA will fund is less than the cost of the current care home and there is no-one able to pay any top-up. The person is not allowed to "top-up" from their residual savings and so has to move to a cheaper care home. (I'm using "worst case" scenario here!)

Why can that person not use up that last £23,250 (plus income from pensions, benefits etc.) to buy themselves some more time in their current care home? (Or pay their own top-up fees?) The LA would then pick up the funding when savings were almost gone.

I cannot see a downside for the LA, as the time at which they would start funding would be substantially delayed, thus saving them money!
A person goes into permanent residential care and is self-funding. After a period of time all capital (savings, revenue from sale of house etc.) has been used and they're down to their last £23,250. At this point they are entitled to request funding from their local authority. The amount the LA will fund is less than the cost of the current care home and there is no-one able to pay any top-up. The person is not allowed to "top-up" from their residual savings and so has to move to a cheaper care home. (I'm using "worst case" scenario here!)
I'm not sure that this is 100% accurate - I've always understood that once savings go below the £23,500 base line then the LA will step in; the LA will then pay a proportionate amount of the fees with the resident making up the difference until savings are reduced to c £14,000 at which point the LA will up their contribution again.

Check out this Age UK factsheet http://www.ageuk.org.uk/Documents/EN-GB ... rk=true%5D

I think that section 10 covers the points under discussion.
This area is a minefield and really needs specialist advice, as has already been mentioned. This is the best description I found and also advice from their experts is free:

http://www.which.co.uk/elderly-care/fin ... -care-home

Incidentally, top-up fees cannot be paid by the individual themselves (I tried that route!). Also note that if paying privately, fee increases are likely to be considerably higher than those applied to local authority funding where they get a "bulk-buy" discount. Highly unfair as the accommodation and care is exactly the same!
The system is hideously complex and local authorities use a number of tactics to keep their budgets under control, including setting unrealistic caps on the weekly rate they will pay (caps which are arbitrary and have no basis in law). Also, they charge something called a tariff income charge on any savings between the upper funding limit (about £23K) and the lower limit (roughly £14K). They charge about 20% per year on that odd £9K, so that basically reduces the savings down to £14K over 5 years.

Dad was self funding for 18 months, then I battled with the LA for full funding and got it. I then discovered the following April that the LA flatly refuses to increase the amount by inflation each year, so when the care home puts up fees each year, we have to pay what they call an inflationary increment - in other words, a top up fee! I suspect that this is illegal and I could get a specialist lawyer to fight it, but it's still a lot less than the original top up they tried to get us to pay, which would have been around £8K a year. The situation is even more complex since Mum passed away and I suspect we are going to have another battle on our hands. Mum left part of her estate in trust to Dad, so that the income from it could be used towards his care, but the capital would eventually pass to me and my siblings. I'm advised that the will is watertight but I suspect the LA may try to challenge it. If they do I will get a specialist solicitor onto it and tell them that while we're doing battle on this issue I intend to claim back all the illegal top ups paid over the past 18 months. They'll find that adding to my stress levels at this time will cost them dearly. If they play nice and accept the will as valid I will continue paying the top up fees, but if not they will lose out both ways.
70 posts