In the past few years a new phrase has entered the lexicon of care, the ‘self funder’. But what is a ‘self funder’ and how do you become one – by accident or design?
A ‘self-funder’ is the term given to someone who pays the full cost of their own care and support.
Does that mean when it comes to navigating the very difficult area of care payment and arrangement that you are on your own? Or how do you know what you did/do to qualify for local authority help.
The bottom line is that you will not be entitled to help with the cost of care from your local authority if:
- You have savings worth more than £23,250
- You own your own property (this only applies if you’re moving into a care home)
You can ask your council for a financial assessment (means test) to check if you qualify for any help with costs. You can read more about the financial assessment on the NHS website
Even if you pay for your own care and support, you can still benefit from contacting your local authority. As a ‘self-funder’ you are still entitled to have an assessment of care needs. The local authority will look at your specific needs and identify services which can help you. The care needs assessment is a statutory obligation and free to everyone who applies.
The latest report from the National Audit Office* produced in July 2018 said that:
“In 2016-17, we estimated privately bought care by self-funders without local authority involvement amounted to £10.9 billion.
“According to estimates by Laing and Buisson, in Mach 2016, approximately 172,000 older people in independent sector care homes in the UK paid for their own care (44% of the total).
“The extent of self-funding varied considerably across England, from 61.9% in the South East to 21.9% in the North East. Broadly, there were more self-funded residents in care homes in the south of England than the north.
“We do not have a reliable national estimate of the number of people who pay for their care in their own home. The estimates we noted in our 2015 report on The Care Act: first-phase reforms were based on modelling and small-scale surveys. The estimates suggested numbers could range from 145,000 to 249,000 people.
There are opportunities if you are a self-funder to get help with information, advice support to arrange your care and support and then go on to monitor and develop the package as the care needs change.
Encompass Living offers such support to those who are either trying to arrange their own care or those relatives or supporters who are arranging care.