While we would all like to stay in our own home, sometimes our health declines to the point that more full time support and care is needed in a residential or nursing home. The person you care for may be needing that extra support and you are now looking into care homes and the options.

If a move to a care home is being considered, the person with care needs should have a care needs assessment from Norfolk County Council. If the council agrees that a care home would be best for them they will carry out a financial assessment to see if the council should help you pay the fees.

The financial assessment looks at: a person’s income, including certain benefits, capital including the value of their home if they own it, and savings.

The council can decide whether to take into account the value of the property, and how much of its value to include. The value of your home must not be taken into consideration if certain other people live there as their main or only home before your move to a care home, and continue to live there. These people include:

  • Your spouse, civil partner or partner;
  • A close relative who has a disability or is over 60;
  • A child aged under 16 who the care home resident is liable to maintain.

This is known as mandatory property disregard.

The council can also choose to ignore the value of the property in other circumstances, as long as the person with care needs is not deliberately avoiding paying care home fees. For example, if you had given up your home to care for them and now have nowhere else to live.

A deferred payment agreement could help if the person you care for has been assessed as having to pay the full cost of your residential care (or supported living or housing with care) but cannot afford to pay the full weekly charge because most of their capital is tied up in their home. This means that the council will fund care costs and will recover the costs once the house has been sold. This could be in the person’s lifetime or after their death. Eligibility depends on the person meeting certain criteria, so not everyone is able to benefit from this option. You can find out more information from Norfolk County Council.

If the person needing care has less than £23,250 in other capital (not their home), the local authority may assist with costs for the first 12 weeks of permanent care. This will be dependent on the local authority agreeing that the move into care was necessary. After the 12 weeks disregard, any further help with fees would be through the deferred payment arrangement.