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Help Needed On Avoiding Care Fees

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  • margaretclare
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    I want to agree with Bogof_Babe and Elliesmum on page 3 of this discussion, most strongly, because I may be one of the writers whom MyRubyRed is so offended by.

    This topic has come up time and time again in the time since I joined Martin's site, and I am very surprised that a little searching did not reveal the basic facts and underlying legislation. I agree with Bogof_Babe - it was the title of the thread which, to my mind, was crystal-clear: 'Help needed to avoid paying care fees'. We often see this, and the next sentence usually has the word 'inheritance' in it. MyRubyRed says that this is not her concern, it is her mother's concern - thanks for the clarification.

    To move on. I am of MyRubyRed's parents' generation, and yes, I remember the 'cradle to grave' slogan that was bandied around in the late 1940s when I was still a schoolgirl. Forgive me for saying it, but I must be one of the minority who didn't believe it. To me, it had about as much meaning as the 'peace in our time' slogan of the late 1930s, or the more recent statement that our troops would go into Afghanistan and leave 'without a shot being fired'. Please???

    As to people having worked all their lives for what they have, DH and I have over a century in the workplace between us, from ages 16 to 67. Our careers were interrupted - mine by 3 years out having children, and his by 2 years unemployment from repeated redundancies when this country's manufacturing base went down the pan. That's still 97 years between us, and we both had responsible jobs. So do not ever quote to me that your 'parents worked hard all their lives'. You may feel 'offended' at what I wrote earlier, I feel offended when people talk about how hard they've worked - what do you think DH and I were doing all these decades?

    If DH, and I, have done our jobs properly - not our paid jobs, but our jobs as parents - then our offspring should be independent and able to take care of themselves, and all 3 of them - his 2 and my 1 - certainly are. As are the grandchildren. And what we earned is for our use during our lifetime. They can have whatever's left - if anything - when we've finished with it. Of course, there are honourable exceptions to what I've just written. 7DWE's son is a different case, and there are others like him. That's different.

    I would agree with what SavvySue wrote yesterday - worrying about this may be (a) because some people are worriers by nature and (b) because it's part of the grieving process.

    I would agree also that the goalposts have changed. I read very recently that Child Benefit, in the amount of £1 million a month, is leaving this country to the benefit of children in Eastern European countries. Think what could be done with this kind of money if there was a political will to spend adequately on care of the elderly. Remember Tony Blair's impassioned speech in September 1997 to the effect that 'he didn't want his children growing up in a country where old people had to sell their homes to fund their care'. And what was ever done about that?

    Further back, there were workhouses, paid for from local rates, and these became the geriatric hospitals of the 1940s/1950s. My grandad died in one in 1948, 40 miles from where he lived, and his brother-in-law died in one 10 years later - I visited him, an old workhouse that was painted magnolia instead of dark green. It was basic care, they were kept clean, sat by their beds all day, that was it. There were moves to make this kind of care more 'homely', but this all costs money. Recently some homes have closed because they could not afford to upgrade as required - en suite for every room, and so on. This puts pressure on the others. Fewer council-run homes, because the councils just can't afford it.

    It's also important to realise that the taxes and NI your parents paid were going to fund services at the time, not saving up for their future. This is a common misconception. We're still taxpayers, by the way, although in our early 70s, and personally there are a huge number of things I'd rather see my taxes spent on than where they are going at present! I'd rather see a lot of the tax that is raised in England, being spent in England on the English, and that includes the people that made England - the older generations. When I read of a war hero having to buy drugs to prevent him and his wife going blind from macular degeneration, drugs that are denied him by NICE, I really do see red. Numerous examples like this.

    BTW all, thanks for the good wishes. I wouldn't have even been able to use this computer at all for several weeks or months, but I'm using it courtesy of a £2 pair of reading-glasses from Asda! Like DH, I get withdrawal symptoms if I couldn't use my computer, but there are miracles - a few years ago I'd have had to wait until a cataract 'ripened' before anything was done, now the criterion is 'does it affect your lifestyle?' If the answer's 'yes', then the technology is such that it cures not only the cataract but many decades of short sight, and it's like a miracle! You can guess how happy I am.

    Best wishes to all

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • EdInvestor
    EdInvestor Posts: 15,749 Forumite
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    MyRubyRed wrote: »
    My dad passed away last year leaving my 73 yr old mum in their mortgage free house. She is now terrified that, if, God forbid, she needs to go into care at some stage, the State will take her house to pay the fees and I won't get my "inheritance"


    It does depend on her assets, but this is not an "either/or" matter. Depending on the size of her pensions and other income, it's quite possible she would have enough money to pay her own way with the care fees,via a care annuity, while also leaving a part of her estate as an inheritance for you.

    You really need to do a bit of research into how much care costs, who pays for what and what options are available.Very few people actually need full time residential care, so much of this worry is unnecessary.Still, it's always good to be well informed, as this can put your mother's mind at rest.

    Start here on costs and ways to fund care:
    https://www.hsbcpensions.co.uk/nhfa/pdfs/is6.pdf

    Look here to find examples of the cost of care homes near you:

    http://www.carestandards.org.uk/
    Trying to keep it simple...;)
  • monkeyspanner
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    I have only skim read this thread so if my comments are repeating what has already been said then my apologies.

    First of all I am always taken aback by the moral attacks which take place on these forums when someone crosses other peoples moral thresholds.

    Presumeably the OP's Mum and Dad paid tax prior to spending their money purchasing a house therefore his/her Mum is entitled to any state provision which is available, without having to suffer other peoples opinions.

    So let's outline the state provision:

    If you own your home and have to go into a care home then you are entitled to a 12 week disregard period where the care home fees will be paid to the level of the assessed care needs until the home is sold. This will probably not cover the full level of self funding fees and so a 1st party or 3rd party top-up payment will be required.

    If the home has not been sold within 12 weeks then an application for deferment can be made and any fees will be paid during this period will be clawed back when the house is sold.

    If you have less than £21500 in capital then you will not be expected to pay for all your care home fees but you will be expected to contribute most of your income i.e pensions (state and private), attendance allowance etc.. You will be allowed to retain £20.45 pocket money per week from your income (that's about a pint of beer a day by my calculations). In addition you will be assessed as having a notional income of £1 for every £250 above £13000 in savings and this will be added to the contribution you have to make.

    If you have more than £21500 then you are expected to pay for your care home fees.

    As other people have said try to get your Mum to enjoy the time she has before a care home is required, and comfort her with the fact that as she has some capital then the choice of care home will be in your family's hands and that there will be a little bit of inheritance left for you to enjoy in the event that her capital is used providing care.
  • antenna
    antenna Posts: 1,776 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker First Post
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    MyRubyRed wrote: »
    Again feel the need to respond here. Problem is that my mum and dad believed that they were paying throughout their life (tax/NI) for the guarantee of a reasonable level of care from cradle to grave and at some point someone moved the goal posts.
    A popular mistake,and still being made today,......all the tax/ni paid by your parents only paid fot the sick and elderly at that time,money was not banked for their use at a later date.........but spent on their parents at that time..........the trouble is that these days there are too many old people and not enough taxpayers to pay for all the modern life extending medical treatments......thats why they invented MRSA....to try to keep the eldely numbers down!.............
    Political?....I dont do Political....well,not much!
  • margaretclare
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    Presumably the OP's Mum and Dad paid tax prior to spending their money purchasing a house therefore his/her Mum is entitled to any state provision which is available, without having to suffer other peoples opinions.

    But this begs the question, doesn't? We have ALL paid tax, we've all paid NI, some of us are even still saving because we don't know what our needs may be in the years we may still have to live! And just what state provision IS available? I am aware of the provisions listed above, they have been highlighted by others over time because this is a very very common question that comes up repeatedly.

    Some people do latch on to this as a worry, and it looms large in their mind's eye, preventing them living life to the full. My philosophy is: why waste time and mental energy on worrying about something that may not happen? One thing which is often advisable when a widow/widower is left the family home - downsize to somewhere more manageable, more economical, more user-friendly, don't wait until you become frail and the stairs become unusable, the costs of maintenance become a burden, the garden is a wilderness. This alternative intermediate solution often seems to be missed. If I were to be widowed a second time I would definitely not stay here - the memories would be too painful, and this place has been made as convenient and user-friendly as possible, but I still wouldn't want to stay.

    There has been no such thing as a 'moral attack' here. It is inevitable that anyone posting on a forum such as this will get a wide spread of opinion, some of it based on people's experiences. IMHO this is invaluable. If we believe in free speech and refuse to be trammelled by political correctness, then someone is inevitably going to be 'offended'. Although I really do not see where the moral comments or the offensiveness came in. You ask for opinion - you get it.

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • margaretclare
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    antenna wrote: »
    A popular mistake,and still being made today,......all the tax/ni paid by your parents only paid for the sick and elderly at that time,money was not banked for their use at a later date.........but spent on their parents at that time..........the trouble is that these days there are too many old people and not enough taxpayers to pay for all the modern life extending medical treatments......that's why they invented MRSA....to try to keep the elderly numbers down!.............

    I agree with the first part of this post, but NOT the comment about MRSA. This is in fact offensive and it's untrue, because MRSA was not 'invented'. When I was a student nurse in 1957 we were warned that over-use and mis-use of antibiotics would one day lead to the rise of 'superbugs' which would be untreatable. In any case, it's not only older people who can be affected by MRSA - a newborn baby died of it, people of all ages have suffered from it!

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • monkeyspanner
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    QUOTE FROM MARGARETCLARE: "Although I really do not see where the moral comments or the offensiveness came in. You ask for opinion - you get it:"

    Margaret you obviously have strong opinions about this subject and at the risk of diverting the discussion, the OP did not ask for opinions, they asked for advice. Some posters on this thread obviously think that the OP crossed some moral line in even asking the original question and IMHO I think we should give the OP the courtesy of addressing their original question.
  • EdInvestor
    EdInvestor Posts: 15,749 Forumite
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    Problem is that my mum and dad believed that they were paying throughout their life (tax/NI) for the guarantee of a reasonable level of care from cradle to grave and at some point someone moved the goal posts.


    Of course the state still supplies medical care from cradle to grave - if you need to receive it in a care home, the NHS will pay an allowance towards it.In cases where people need full time nursing care the NHS pays the lot.

    But the state has never paid for accommodation, food, and what's called "personal care" relating to assistance needed when not sick, but old. Mostly families provide this, and the state pays a carer's allowance where appropriate (which could be higher of course).Some people have visiting carers , others have live in staff, as with nannies for babies. Or you can pay for it in a care home.

    There are some grey areas.One is that insitutional care has now become ridiculously expensive.The second is people are living much longer, so are more likely to need it and thus councils are finding it too expensive to supply in the volume required.The third is the arguments over dementia and Alzheimers and whether they count as an illness (qualified for NHS payment) or not.

    Clearly some reforms are needed.
    Trying to keep it simple...;)
  • margaretclare
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    QUOTE FROM MARGARETCLARE: "Although I really do not see where the moral comments or the offensiveness came in. You ask for opinion - you get it:"

    Margaret you obviously have strong opinions about this subject and at the risk of diverting the discussion, the OP did not ask for opinions, they asked for advice. Some posters on this thread obviously think that the OP crossed some moral line in even asking the original question and IMHO I think we should give the OP the courtesy of addressing their original question.

    But you cannot just answer the question as it is framed: 'Help Needed on Avoiding Care Fees' because no such answer is possible!
    Hence the wide-ranging discussion that you always get, and this inevitably brings in people's personal experiences and therefore, opinions. If you want advice only, you go to places like the CAB. Or try contacting AgeConcern or Help the Aged, who have some useful leaflets setting out all the options and stating the position as clearly as you would like. This is a discussion forum, and you'll get discussion. I couldn't possibly advise anyone on 'how to avoid care fees'.

    EdInvestor, as always you talk sense. In some respects, the 'cradle to grave' philosophy has led to the 'I'm entitled' way of thinking...but let's not go there. In addition, it's all very well saying 'my parents never claimed anything'. I've claimed whatever was going, at the same time as working and paying taxes, and in fact it was excellent NHS surgery and treatment which has enabled me to keep going this long - the cataract surgery this week is only the latest example. So there ARE things that can be 'claimed', and thank goodness there are!

    Margaret
    [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]Æ[/FONT]r ic wisdom funde, [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]æ[/FONT]r wear[FONT=Times New Roman, serif]ð[/FONT] ic eald.
    Before I found wisdom, I became old.
  • EdInvestor
    EdInvestor Posts: 15,749 Forumite
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    .. the OP did not ask for opinions, they asked for advice.


    The correct "advice" on care issues is itself a matter of opinion - not that anybody should think they will receive any formal advice on this forum. MSE offers information and opinion only, not advice.


    To my mind a lot of pressure would be taken of the whole care problem if

    a) It was agreed that once a person with dementia/Alzheimers needed 24/7 care, it was treated as an illness and paid for by the NHS.

    b) The Government looked at ways of making care annuities more affordable, perhaps with better tax breaks and more usable for purchasing part-time care at home.

    c)For the future the Govt looked at offering more incentives for a more modern concept of care - in the sheltered housing/assisted living style rather than in the conventional expensive residential care home.
    Trying to keep it simple...;)
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