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  • FIRST POST
    • Moonmin87
    • By Moonmin87 1st Dec 17, 12:19 AM
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    Moonmin87
    Care Home top-up fees - help please!
    • #1
    • 1st Dec 17, 12:19 AM
    Care Home top-up fees - help please! 1st Dec 17 at 12:19 AM
    Hello

    I have read reams of information on care home top up fees and wondered if anyone else had been in the same position as me. Basically my elderly grandmother is deteriorating rapidly - she has heart failure and is on oxygen 24 hours a day. She can no longer stay in sheltered accommodation, so social services have assessed her and she'll be moving to a care home ASAP.

    My issue is this: she is a very anxious 97 year old who I love dearly, and I want the rest of her days (which we really don't think will be many) to be happy and peaceful. The home they have identified for her is miles away, in a town where she knows nobody, and the other option is a tiny, dark little room with barely any daylight in our home town. She spends all day in her room at the moment and just wants to be there with her belongings around her.

    There is a slightly bigger room with more daylight available but the top up is £120 per week, which we (her family) can't afford. I have a good understanding of why she can't pay this herself - the Local Authority are trying to protect their budget, BUT in this situation, where we are pretty sure she is slipping away, her sons and I are wrangling with whether she could make a financial gift to one of us which we could then use to pay the top up? We know that this could be viewed as deliberate deprivation of assets, so we're just trying to get our head around the consequences of this.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat about this, she has £21,000 in savings, receives state pension, pension credit and attendance allowance - by my calculations if we were to do this, even if the LA deemed it deliberate deprivation of assets and based her means test on notional capital, she would still have enough money to pay for at least 3 years of top up fees. Remember she's 97, has heart failure and is recovering from pneumonia so 3 years would be a miracle.

    I hope that you can understand where I'm coming from - I'm not trying to play the system to get more money out of the council (this wouldn't happen anyway), I'm just trying to do the best by my Grandmother. I don't see many options in front of me and trying to decide what to do this week has been an emotional rollercoaster, so please be kind!

    Thanks.
Page 1
    • SVFM
    • By SVFM 1st Dec 17, 2:42 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    SVFM
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 2:42 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Dec 17, 2:42 PM
    Deprivation of Assets, normally applies when the asset is not used by the person themselves but given away to others.
    I don't see why the money would need to be given to anyone as a gift. If your nan has this £21,000 she should be able to pay the weekly top up amount from her savings for the better room. IMO she would not be depriving herself of assets, as the money would be spent on herself to give her a more comfortable standard of room/living.
    If it was me I wouldn't hesitate to move her into a better room and pay for it out of her savings with her agreement of course). Hope you manage to arrange for a better room for her.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 1st Dec 17, 7:53 PM
    • 4,116 Posts
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    Keep pedalling
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 7:53 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Dec 17, 7:53 PM
    This is not deprivation of assets, and that money certainly could be used to top up her choice of accommodation. In her situation I can’t think of a better use for it.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 1st Dec 17, 8:03 PM
    • 15,451 Posts
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    elsien
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 8:03 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Dec 17, 8:03 PM
    Deprivation of Assets, normally applies when the asset is not used by the person themselves but given away to others.
    I don't see why the money would need to be given to anyone as a gift. If your nan has this £21,000 she should be able to pay the weekly top up amount from her savings for the better room. IMO she would not be depriving herself of assets, as the money would be spent on herself to give her a more comfortable standard of room/living.
    If it was me I wouldn't hesitate to move her into a better room and pay for it out of her savings with her agreement of course). Hope you manage to arrange for a better room for her.
    Originally posted by SVFM
    She's not allowed to pay top up payments herself once her savings drop below 23K.
    How was the care home chosen? There would normally be two or three on the list to be chosen from, unless bed spaces are very limited.
    Does she have capacity around accommodation, is there a power of attorney in place and if she lacks capacity was there a best interests decision and were family consulted ? If she has capacity then there is nothing to stop you and she looking for a closer home - if costs are the same then moving shouldn't be an issue.
    If it was a best interests decision then I would be challenging social services as to how they can demonstrate it's in her best interests to move miles away from everyone and everywhere she knows.

    Ref finances - if she lacks capacity she can't gift the money. If she has capacity and suddenly starts giving large amounts of money to family then it may trigger a safeguarding about financial abuse, however well meant your intentions.

    More importantly as she had a CHC assessment/DST for nursing needs, given the oxygen use? If not, ask for one. If she doesn't qualify for full support she may still qualify for nursing top up may would give her more options.
    Independent Age have a very good helpline if you want to get some proper advice about the situation.
    Last edited by elsien; 01-12-2017 at 8:19 PM.
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

    Pedant alert - it's could have, not could of.
    • badmemory
    • By badmemory 1st Dec 17, 9:38 PM
    • 1,071 Posts
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    badmemory
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:38 PM
    • #5
    • 1st Dec 17, 9:38 PM
    Elsien is correct, if her savings have dropped below £23k then her own money cannot be used for the extra for the room. Also if she is LA funded she should not be receiving AA.

    The sneaky answer is to change the bulbs in her room to daylight & higher than the 'OMG I can't see across the room' bulbs these homes normally have fitted. The care workers won't complain so as long as no one in charge ever goes in there you are fine.
    • SVFM
    • By SVFM 1st Dec 17, 10:26 PM
    • 25 Posts
    • 76 Thanks
    SVFM
    • #6
    • 1st Dec 17, 10:26 PM
    • #6
    • 1st Dec 17, 10:26 PM
    From my understanding nan needs to be left with a certain amount a week out of her weekly income for personal expenses (used to be around £24 per week), this money can't be used for top up. However I don't know of any legalisation that states she cannot use her savings to pay for it. Surely it is more important to spend what is left of your life in comfort rather than worry about leaving money in a bank account just to comply. I know if it was me and I was in nans position I wouldn't be worried about what anyone was going to do if I spent my own money, on my own care. Hope you sort something out.
    • lessonlearned
    • By lessonlearned 1st Dec 17, 10:59 PM
    • 10,223 Posts
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    lessonlearned
    • #7
    • 1st Dec 17, 10:59 PM
    • #7
    • 1st Dec 17, 10:59 PM
    My mum was in a similar position. I signed the declaration to say I was paying the top up fees, but it actually came out of my parents joint current account, dad was still alive and living in the matrimonial home.

    The nursing home never questioned it, neither did adult social Services. They were perfectly happy with the arrangements we made. I think they just needed an assurance that if mum and dad ran out of funds then I would pay.

    Re AA that will need to stop, you Will need to inform DWP of a change of circumstances. Basically they will take all of your grans income and leave her with around £23 per week for personal expenses. They won’t touch her savings because it is under the limits.

    There is no reason why she cannot draw down her savings for her additional personal expenses, including top up fees. Just be sure to keep all receipts.

    Is there a POA in place just in case she loses the ability to instruct you. If she cannot sign a poa instruction then a X plus a thumbprint, verified by a solicitor, would suffice. We had to do this for my husband when he became paralysed.
    • alwaysonthego
    • By alwaysonthego 3rd Dec 17, 10:34 AM
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    alwaysonthego
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 10:34 AM
    • #8
    • 3rd Dec 17, 10:34 AM
    It doesn't matter what savings someone has even if it is over the capital limit of £23,250 it is not allowed for any top up to come out of a person's savings if they are contracted via a LA for their care home placement. Any gifting of money isn't taken kindly by a LA and will be seen as deprivation of funds. The only way that the top up can be paid by the person is during the 12 weeks disregard of their property or if there is a deferred payment agreement on the property. The LA should have discussed over homes that contract at the La standard cost and if this has not happened you are in your right to request that the social worker requests to panel that the LA pay this top up.
    • 3card
    • By 3card 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
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    3card
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    • #9
    • 3rd Dec 17, 4:20 PM
    I think you will find the correct term for the top up is actually a 3rd party top up which means that it must be paid by a 3rd party so as others have indicated it cannot be paid from the residents finances.

    Again as others have said all your grandmothers income will be taken less the personal allowance of approx £25 per week and used towards her care costs

    I never knew about losing the AA when my moms self funding came to an end and then found out that it was up to me to let them know. I did this within a matter of minutes of find this info out and it eventually got sorted.

    I'm not that well 'up' on the gifting of money so i cant answer this but would be interested in finding this out myself
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 3rd Dec 17, 7:01 PM
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    Mojisola
    My issue is this: she is a very anxious 97 year old who I love dearly, and I want the rest of her days (which we really don't think will be many) to be happy and peaceful. The home they have identified for her is miles away, in a town where she knows nobody, and the other option is a tiny, dark little room with barely any daylight in our home town. She spends all day in her room at the moment and just wants to be there with her belongings around her.

    There is a slightly bigger room with more daylight available but the top up is £120 per week, which we (her family) can't afford.

    Before anyone jumps down my throat about this, she has £21,000 in savings, receives state pension, pension credit and attendance allowance
    Originally posted by Moonmin87
    Again as others have said all your grandmothers income will be taken less the personal allowance of approx £25 per week and used towards her care costs
    Originally posted by 3card
    You're really only looking at the £21,000 because, as 3card says, her other income with go towards the cost of her room.

    Looking at it very pragmatically, someone will inherit whatever lump sum she leaves - could that person cover the cost knowing that they will eventually get it back?

    Also, it's worth being a bit pushy about the available rooms - it's inevitable with care homes that other rooms become available.
    • alwaysonthego
    • By alwaysonthego 3rd Dec 17, 7:13 PM
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    alwaysonthego
    I think you will find the correct term for the top up is actually a 3rd party top up which means that it must be paid by a 3rd party so as others have indicated it cannot be paid from the residents finances.
    Originally posted by 3card
    Not strictly true it can be paid by the person during the 12 week disregard of a property and/or if there is a deferred payment on the property.
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 3rd Dec 17, 7:19 PM
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    Mojisola
    Not strictly true it can be paid by the person during the 12 week disregard of a property and/or if there is a deferred payment on the property.
    Originally posted by alwaysonthego
    That's only if a person is a self-funder.

    Someone whose bills are being paid by the council only has the option of a third party top-up.
    • 3card
    • By 3card 3rd Dec 17, 10:22 PM
    • 160 Posts
    • 55 Thanks
    3card
    That's only if a person is a self-funder.

    Someone whose bills are being paid by the council only has the option of a third party top-up.
    Originally posted by Mojisola
    Do homes charge a top up if you're self funding?
    From my experience with my mom none of the homes i looked at were going to charge the top up whilst she was self funding.

    As soon as my mom became LA funded the 3rd party top up would kick in but i had a sympathetic care home that realised this would cause some financial difficulties and agreed to waive the top up fee.
    I think they thought that my mom had already paid enough during her self funding period
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 4th Dec 17, 9:07 AM
    • 28,657 Posts
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    Mojisola
    Not strictly true it can be paid by the person during the 12 week disregard of a property and/or if there is a deferred payment on the property.
    Originally posted by alwaysonthego
    Do homes charge a top up if you're self funding?

    From my experience with my mom none of the homes i looked at were going to charge the top up whilst she was self funding.

    As soon as my mom became LA funded the 3rd party top up would kick in but i had a sympathetic care home that realised this would cause some financial difficulties and agreed to waive the top up fee.
    I think they thought that my mom had already paid enough during her self funding period
    Originally posted by 3card
    What happened with Dad was that the council were willing to pay their contribution while the deferred payment scheme was in force but not the extra that the home was charging.

    Dad had some cash available and so we used that to pay the difference.

    The home he was in didn't accept residents at the council rate - someone had to sign the contract to pay top fees or the resident had to have enough capital to pay the full amount.
    • alanq
    • By alanq 4th Dec 17, 9:42 AM
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    alanq
    Do homes charge a top up if you're self funding?
    Originally posted by 3card
    What would "top up" mean if self funding? Wouldn't a home just quote a higher price for a service rather than a "standard price"+a top up?
    • Mojisola
    • By Mojisola 4th Dec 17, 9:52 AM
    • 28,657 Posts
    • 72,990 Thanks
    Mojisola
    What would "top up" mean if self funding? Wouldn't a home just quote a higher price for a service rather than a "standard price"+a top up?
    Originally posted by alanq
    If you're a straightforward self funder, there is no top up fee. You pay the price asked.

    If you are a self funder but need time to, say, sell a house before you have access to your capital, the council will set up a deferred payment scheme but they will only contribute up to the their set level - the difference between this and the care home cost has to be paid by the resident or someone else - this is where the top up comes into play.
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