Should we be paying a top up for care accommodation?
How a person’s care is funded can be an extremely complicated area – there are many different types of funding that a protected party may be eligible for and as an Attorney or Deputy it is important you are claiming these where appropriate.
If the protected party is eligible for Local Authority funding, then a personal budget will be created. This is a statement which sets out the cost to the Local Authority of meeting the protected party’s needs and the amount which they must pay and, if appropriate, the amount the protected party must contribute.
The Local Authority must provide at least one genuine option for a care facility which is within the protected party’s personal budget. It may then be the case that the protected party has the funds to pay a “top up” to enable them to stay in a more expensive facility by paying the difference, or it may be that a third party could pay the top up for them.
As a Deputy or Attorney you should be considering if that top-up is appropriate or if you can reduce the top up to save the protected party’s funds. If you can successfully argue that the protected party has a need and not a preference for certain care or care homes, then the Local Authority may have to increase their contribution.
Whilst it is difficult to show that the protected party has a need and not a preference for specific care or care accommodation, it is possible. Factors which may help demonstrate this include the impact of moving the protected party – this could be particularly relevant where a care home increase their fees and the Local Authority argue that the new fees are no longer within the budget and so a top up is the only way to keep them in the care home; location of family to the care home or potentially location of the care home to where the protected party has been living. For example, if a protected party suffers from dementia and their symptoms are exacerbated when they are in unfamiliar surroundings, it could be argued that a care home nearer where they have lived for 40 years is necessary compared to a cheaper care home which is much further away from their local area.
If you are a Deputy or Attorney and need advice regarding funding care accommodation please contact our Court of Protection team on 020 7940 4060.