By Juliet Phillips-James, Director, Gomer Williams (as featured in the Llanelli Star)
Q: My mother is currently in hospital and awaiting a move into a nursing home. At the moment, social services are assessing what she will have to contribute towards her nursing home fees. My mother owns a house jointly with my father and he is still living there. She has some savings but not enough to indefinitely fund her care. Could the local authority force my parents to sell their house to fund my mother's care? Is there anyway in which my mother could be eligible to have her care fully paid the local authority, as I know of some people who have had it paid?
A: As your mother is moving into a nursing home, the local authority's social services department will have carried out an assessment of her needs to reach the decision that she needs this level of care.
With regards to funding these arrangements, it all depends as to how much savings your mother has. The current capital threshold is £23,250 in Wales. If your mother has less than this in savings then she will not be expected to use this to pay her care home fees.
She will, however, be expected to use all of her weekly income towards the fees, except for £24 a week personal allowance.
If your mother's savings are over the threshold, she will have to pay all of her fees until the money reduces to this threshold.
However, if your mother is assessed as having a nursing need, the NHS will pay a weekly contribution towards her care. If she requires 24 hour continuous nursing care she may be entitled to full NHS funding for her care home fees.
As for the property, this will not count towards her capital as your father lives there. Therefore the value of the property will be ignored.
There are new rules set to come in on this issue, whereby the threshold will rise from £23,250 to £123,000 and care costs will also be capped at £75,000.
However, these changes are not due to come into force until April 2017.