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Help with accessing savings to pay care home fees

in Over 50s MoneySaving
15 replies 3.5K views
I am trying to keep this as concise as possible and keep to the key facts.

My Mum has been transferred into a care Home. She will probably be self - funding but that is another matter/ argument.

She has savings to fund the fees for a few years but we have no power of attorney and I am currently battling through the mammoth Court of Protection forms and procedures which I am told could take 6 months.

My Dad has one fixed bond which we could cash in with a large penalty and use to pay the fees for around a year. Is there any way around this situation at all? Is there any way , under these circumstances, that we can cash in one of my Mums accounts, purely to get a standing order set up immediately to pay the care home. Surely this sort of thing happens all the time? Many thanks.
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  • FarwayFarway Forumite
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    Is your mum mentally able? You do not say why she is in a care home
  • homerhotspurhomerhotspur Forumite
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    No, she has had a major stroke and has, amongst other things, vascular dementia.
  • dzug1dzug1 Forumite
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    As far as I know there isn't a legal way other than to run up a debt with the care home - who may understandably be wary.

    Could she sign a letter setting up a standing order if it was prepared for her? (Sorry if that's a silly suggestion - not much medical knowledge...)
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    My Mum & Dad were in a similar position, although it was a joint 2 year bond with 6 months left to run and no way of getting at the money until the release date or death of one of the bond holders.

    When my Dad became ill (Dementia), we involved our local Social Services and 3 months after, it was clear that he needed to go into a Care home.

    Our County Council sent an assessor out to do a financial assessment and of the course the bond was declared as half Dad's savings.

    He was self-funding, but obviously he didn't have the cash available to pay the care home.
    The council paid the weekly balance after Dad's various income had been paid to the care home.

    When Dad died and the bond was accessible, the Council sent us a bill for what we owed.

    I know it's not exactly the same situation but it might be worth talking to your council.
  • edited 14 May 2012 at 8:55AM
    monkeyspannermonkeyspanner Forumite
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    edited 14 May 2012 at 8:55AM
    Sorry to hear of your mum's illness.

    As Pollycat suggested you should approach the council and explain the situatiion and ask for deferred payment arrangements to be put in place. Your Dad is under no obligation to pay and your mum's funds are out of reach if she is unable to give informed consent to a power of attorney. This situation is common especially if funds are tied up in property.

    If the council make the care arrangements with the care home your mum may also end up paying less than in a direct self-funding arrangement as councils generally ppay care homes less for the same care arrangements.

    I believe in the case of property the council are unable to levy interest charges on the deferred payments but I am unsure if this is the case if other savings are involved.

    Good luck.
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    I believe in the case of property the council are unable to levy interest charges on the deferred payments but I am unsure if this is the case if other savings are involved.

    The council didn't levy any interest on Dad's bill but the time he spent in the care home was very short (2 months).

    I would advise against your Dad cashing in his bond to pay for your Mum's care.

    As you say, surely yours is not a unique situation and councils must come across this from time to time.

    Talk to them about funding options whilst you are sorting out PoA.
  • Cranny44Cranny44 Forumite
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    If she is placed via the council then what should happen is you will be expected to become her benefit appointee (free via the DWP) so some income can be paid over - state pension and Attendance allowance usually and she can also have her personal expenses out of this. Then the council would fund the rest until you are her deputy at which point the council will bill you for what it has paid on her behalf, usually interest free. Therefore you shouldnt need your dad to cash in his savings or lose out on his bond.

    hth
    Updating .................................................
  • PollycatPollycat Forumite
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    Actually, cranny, that is exactly what happened with my Dad.

    I was his (DWP) appointee and paid the care home part of the fees from his state pension etc and the rest was sorted by the council and they billed me when Dad died - which was before the bond became due.

    Becoming a DWP appointee is prettty painless.
    They visited Dad at the care home, a few quick questions to him made it obvious that he wasn't capable of managing his own affairs and the rest of the meeting was going through his finances, dis-associating their joint pension credit allowance etc.

    I think I had to provide id.

    If you are an appointee, the benefits have to be paid into a bank account in your name.
  • homerhotspurhomerhotspur Forumite
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    Many thanks for the useful replies. I will certainly look into the DWP appointee procedure. I presume by ' Council', you mean the local Social Services people who will soon be carrying out an assessment on my Mum for the purposes of the Nursing allowance of £108 per week? If so, I could raise this with them at the same time.
  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    Pollycat wrote: »
    I think I had to provide id.
    I'm sure you'll have had to provide ID! you can't do ANYTHING these days without proving who you are!!!
    Signature removed for peace of mind
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