People in the North East of England who sell property to pay care fees in old age use up their property’s value quicker than anywhere else in the UK, according to recent figures.
Many people in later life have to sell their home (unless they have a partner still living in it) to meet the costs of residential care. Only if you have less than £23,250 in assets can you apply to the local authority for means-tested assistance.
According to figures from the insurer Royal London, the average length of stay in a care home is two and a half years. This will eat up more than half the value of the average North East property. And that is a higher proportion than anywhere else in the country.
Royal London calculated that average care fees for in the North East over two and a half years are £71,993. This amounts to 56 per cent of the average property price in the region (£128,631).
One in ten 65-year-olds face future lifetime care costs of more than £100,000. Which means the average property owner in the North East will use up virtually all of their property assets paying for care in less than four years.
Care fees for the average stay may be higher in London at £86,612. But this is only 18 per cent of the average London property price of £484,000. In the South East less than 30 per cent of the average property value will go into paying for care.
“These figures illustrate just how important it is to ensure people in the North East are getting all the care funding assistance they are entitled to,” says Rosalind Hughes, head of Just Caring Legal. The Sunderland-based firm specialises in the recovery of wrongly paid care fees all over the UK.
“People seem to think that they have to pay for all of their care if they have assets. But this is not always the case. There are many people funding their own care who should be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding,” Rosalind continues.
“People who need care due to a primary health need, such as a more complex illness or disability, should receive NHS CHC regardless of how many assets or savings they have. It is not means-tested at all. The problem is many people are not aware of it, or wrongly believe they are not eligible for it.
“It would appear that some NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are failing to follow national guidelines and case law when assessing people for NHS CHC and so denying people this much needed funding.”
“People work all their lives to pay off their mortgage so they have something to leave behind. Then they find the whole lot eaten up in care fees in a few short years. In many cases those fees should have been paid by the NHS,” says Rosalind.
“This is one of the main reasons I set up Just Caring Legal. We give vulnerable individuals and their families a voice. And we can deal on their behalf with the NHS and local authorities over complex care funding issues.”