Getting information and advice about your finances (when paying for care and support)
This factsheet is for anyone who is paying for care and support at the moment, or thinking about it in the future.
June 2018 (FS14)
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Information and advice can make a difference
Many people don’t know that, unlike the NHS, care and support usually isn’t free. In fact, 9 out of 10 people pay towards their care and support even when it’s organised through Adult Social Care.
Whether you’re making arrangements now or starting to think about the future, paying for care can feel like a big worry, especially when it involves so many uncertainties. You should always have the chance to make well-informed choices when planning how to pay for care and support, whether you have lots of savings and assets, or none at all.
Having the right information and advice could help you manage your money better, get good quality care and support and make sure you are getting the benefits and income you’re entitled to. Help is available, and this factsheet sets out some of the options.
Paying for care and support
In East Sussex, lots of people pay for some or all of their care and support from their own savings and income – whether they’re getting help at home, or in residential or nursing care.
When the council might be able to help you
Anyone can ask us to look at their care and support needs, and if you are likely to need help we will carry out a social care needs assessment. We have to give priority to people with the greatest need for our support, so what you are entitled to will depend on your level of need.
If you do have eligible needs, and you have less than £23,250 in savings and capital, the council might be able to pay towards your care and support. How much will depend on an assessment of your finances.
If you’re currently paying for care and support privately, you should let us know when your savings and capital are likely to fall below £23,250. More information is available in our leaflet: What you will need to pay towards the cost of your care and support.
If you have eligible needs but have more than £23,250 in savings and capital Adult Social Care can still offer free advice and information and help you to find the care and support that you need.
You can contact Adult Social Care if you would like advice and information or an assessment of your needs. Anyone can ask us for this, regardless of how much money you have. If you are not eligible to receive care and support from us we’ll give you information and advice and tell you about other organisations that may be able to help.
In addition we have produced a range of leaflets about accessing care and support and staying independent.
Independent financial advice
Talking to a specialist independent financial adviser may help you to understand your funding options, and make the right choices at the right time, especially if you’re thinking about paying for long-term care and support.
You could find advice from an independent adviser helpful if you:
- already live in a care home and you’re paying for care from your income and savings
- want to talk to someone independent about your financial situation and the options available to you
- are acting as an attorney under a power of attorney or deputy and looking after someone else’s financial affairs in any of the above circumstances
- think you are likely to need care and support in the future, for example, if you have a long-term condition such as Multiple Sclerosis
Choosing an independent financial adviser
There are lots of independent financial advisers out there, and it may seem difficult to work out who is right for you. Financial advisers can provide a wealth of information to support you when considering the cost of care and discuss various options including the merits of various schemes. They can also provide support for maximising your income and general financial advice.
As well as making sure that you use someone who is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, you might want to consider the following:
Someone accredited with the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA)
SOLLA registered financial advisers go through a training and accreditation process and are specialists in planning ahead for later life – even if you’re still young.
Independent financial advice covers lots of different areas, and an adviser who specialises in care fees may understand more about the situation that you’re in, and will be able to offer more tailored advice. Most financial advisers will state if they have any specialist areas of knowledge, and you can check this with SOLLA as well.
Support with Confidence
Support with Confidence is an accreditation scheme which makes sure all members are committed to training and providing good quality, safe services. It is a directory of vetted and approved care and support providers which offer services like personal care, meal provision, gardening, home improvement, transport. There are a small number of independent financial advisers accredited under the scheme.
- Website: Support with Confidence
- Phone: 01323 463 440
Restricted or unrestricted financial advisors
Restricted financial advisers are usually tied to an institution – for example, a bank – and will be limited in the range of products they could offer you. This means that you may not get the best offer out there, but you might want this if you know that you trust a certain bank, for example. Unrestricted financial advisers will look at all financial products that are available across the market which gives a wider choice.
Beware of anything that seems too good to be true
Some financial advisers work on the basis of protecting or transferring your assets. Government regulations call this ‘deliberate deprivation’, and loopholes that seem to offer a way for you to save your money may cause you problems later down the line.
Equity release schemes
This is the name given to a range of products that let you access the equity (cash) tied up in your home if you are over 55. The Money Advice Service has a helpful guide which explains your options and what to look out for.
Get more information about paying for care
The Money Advice Service is free and impartial. It has some very helpful information about paying for care, finding advice, or thinking about savings and retirement. Call them on 0800 138 7777
Tax Help for Older People provide free, expert, personal tax advice and support for older people on low annual incomes. Call their national helpline on 0845 6013321 or 01308 488066.
Citizens Advice also has helpful information about accessing and paying for care, and sources of further help, including getting financial advice. Go to looking after people or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau in East Sussex.
Symponia members will help you get the specialist services you need, while at the same time looking after the financial side of all aspects of care. You can get a copy of their care fees planning handbook from their website, or by ordering it from a Symponia member. Email: email@example.com or call 01789 491 352.
Get more information about debt management and benefit advice
Citizens Advice has helpful information on debt management and benefit advice. Alternatively, drop into your local bureau or call 03444 111 444.
If your question is about changes to benefits, we have a dedicated welfare benefits helpline on 0333 344 0681.
Pension Wise is a government service that provides guidance on the options for accessing your pension(s), including thinking about providing for future care needs. A Pension Wise appointment is free, and may help if you are 50 or over and have a defined contribution pension pot. To make an appointment call 0800 138 3944 or contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau.
National help with paying for care
There are also national charities and advice services which support people with disabilities, carers and older people, and organisations with expert knowledge of specific conditions (such as being deafblind). Some useful ones are:
- Age UK (older people). Phone 0800 055 6112.
- Independent Age (older people). Phone 0800 319 6789.
- Alzheimer’s Society (memory). Phone 0300 222 11 22.
- Sense (sensory impairments). Phone 0300 330 9250.
- Carers UK (carers). Phone 0808 808 7777.
- The Royal British Legion. Phone 0808 802 8080.
- The Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Families Association (SSAFA). Phone 0800 731 4880.
- Veterans UK. Phone 0808 1914 218.
What to do next
If you would like an assessment of your care and support needs, or if you look after someone, you should contact us. You can also contact us if you’re worried about someone else:
If you have particular questions about your situation, a good start is to contact your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) in East Sussex
Phone: 03444 111 444 (national phone number)
Making a complaint
If you want to make a complaint about Adult Social Care, you might want to use an independent advocate to help you understand the complaints process and put your views across effectively.
For more information on how to make a complaint, see our leaflet: How to make a complaint or give feedback about Adult Social Care services.