Although care homes come in handy in providing elderly parents with the support they need when they can no longer live independently, the fees are substantial and cause concern for most families. This is more so the case if the parent cannot pay their own care home fees.
If you find yourself in a similar situation, it’s essential to know if you’re obligated to pay for your parent’s care home fees and if the authorities can legally come for your assets to offset any outstanding care home fees.
When Can I be Forced to Pay for Care Home Fees
You’re not obligated under any law to pay for any family member’s fee. This applies to your parents, wife, husband, or relatives by law.
Unless you append your signature with the care provider promising to pay the fees, you’re not legally obliged to pay.
While the assets and wealth you own are safe, you should note that if you have any joint assets or contracts with the person receiving care, these could be affected. Your inheritance could also shrink when a relative goes into a care home. But the bottom line is that your money remains yours.
Considering nursing homes cost about £738 per week and the average period of stay is about 66 weeks, it’s easy to see why most people are concerned about paying care home fees.
Where to Get Help
There are three entities obligated to pay for care home fees: the person going into the care home, the local authority, or the health authority.
If your parent has less than £14,250 in savings and assets, their care home fees should be paid by the council. Their home will be included in the means test unless a spouse, a partner, a relative aged over 60 years, or a carer lives there.
Your parent might be required to make some contribution if their savings and assets are worth more than £14,250 but less than £23,250.
Getting Help from the NHS
If your parent is going to a care home because of ill health, it’s possible the NHS could foot the bill. The conditions, in this case, are stringent, and only about 30,000 people get NHS support annually.
To qualify, your parent’s health has to be assessed by medical experts. If they have a priority need in one of the four main categories: breathing, behaviour, medication and altered state of mind, the NHS can step in to fund for care.
Your parent can also qualify for NHS funding if they have a severe need in at least two of the mentioned categories.
In some cases, the NHS can also offer help with nursing fees in cases where your parent is not eligible for full funding.
When it comes to care home fees, most parents are worried about losing their home and their life savings. If you’re in a position to help, you can chip in on the top-up fees. But it’s highly recommended to talk to a professional before making any hasty decision on the best way forward.