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When does the state pick up the bill?

(22 Posts)
NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 20:53:45

I'm getting confused (well more so). My mum is 88 and living alone in her own bungalow which her and dad worked very hard for. At present she has just too much money in savings so Social Services say she has to pay for all the adaptations she needs to stay in her home.
She has various health problems which mean she can hardly walk and cannot reach her feet so is now paying for careers to come in each morning. They are a Godsend but mean her savings are diminishing quite quickly.
Can anyone tell me if, when she's down to the magic £23,250 that every one keeps talking about will Social Services start to pick up any of the tabs or will she have to borrow against the value of the house. No one seems to be able to give me a straight answer, least of all Social Services.

jeni Mon 23-Jul-12 21:08:57

Would she qualify for AA? It's not a lot of money but it might help!
Age concern or CAB would help with form filling.

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 21:35:28

She already gets that - lower rate as she's ok at night. It's getting her to accept she may have to borrow against the house is a problem. Age UK say Soc Svc should pay for some rails as it would cost under £1000. Soc Svc say no. It's all rather confusing!

jeni Mon 23-Jul-12 21:48:04

Age uk should help sort it out! Soc services are very naughty sometimes with what they say! Also try your mp.

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 21:54:52

Just read back and found Absentgrana's post on government funding. (been away). Looks like mum can borrow against the house from the council already. Now I just have to persuade her. I failed miserably in my attempt to get her to move to sheltered housing!
Perhaps she has to get to the £23etc first. I wonder if I can get more sense from the housing department.

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 21:56:09

Right - thanks - looks like I'm on the phone tomorrow!

Mishap Mon 23-Jul-12 22:35:30

You need to get Age UK or CAB behind you on this one.

If she is living in the house it always used to be the case that it's value is irrelevant. It is only her savings that matter. Once she reaches the savings threshold for your local SSD then they need to pick up some of (and eventually all of) the tab, as her savings dwindle. These savings do not include the value of the house.

If she goes into residential or nursing home care, then the value of the house becomes relevant as she is no longer living in it and it is treated as an asset. She would be asked to sell it and pay for her own care. Once again the SSD has to make a contribution if the money from selling the house dwindles away to a certain level during her stay in care, because she lives a long time.

It never was the case that you were asked to borrow money against the value of the house when you were living in it, and I am not aware that this has changed. There are some new proposals floating about, but they have not yet become law. It would be very complicated for her and she is clearly not happy about the idea - so I shouldn't pursue that if I were you until you have clear guidelines from CAB.

On this Age UK page you can download a factsheet about paying for care (

Unfortunately social workers used to have the well-being of the individual as their prime aim - sadly they have now been forced to become financial gatekeepers for their employers and you are safer going to an independent adviser like CAB or Age UK for proper advice.

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 22:54:27

Thank you. You're an angel. I feel I'm on stronger ground now?

jeni Mon 23-Jul-12 22:55:11

That's what I said!

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 22:55:56

(didn't mean to end with a question mark - don't know where it came from!)

NfkDumpling Mon 23-Jul-12 23:00:16

You did Jeni, you did. I have spoken to Age UK but the social worker just contradicted them. I' ll make an appointment with CAB now I've a better idea where we are. Thanks.

Mishap Tue 24-Jul-12 09:58:19

Print out the fact sheet from the link above and wave it under the social worker's nose!

I get so depressed when I hear how SWs function now - our job used to be to help and guide people throughthe minefield and make sure optimum care was supplied with the minimum of distress for client and family. Sigh!!!

Good luck with all this.

Sorry to be a bit subversive, but if my clients and relatives were getting grief from SSD I used to tell them to threaten a solicitor's letter - worked like magic!!

FlicketyB Tue 24-Jul-12 11:34:12

Age Uk and CAB will do all they can but Social Services are impossible. They will do anything, including lying, probably cheating and certainly obfuscating and delaying hoping that eventually you will pay for everything yourself out of sheer exasperation, rather than fund anything if they think they can get away with it. As well as talking to Age UK go to their website and print out some of their fact sheets. They are good for waving at Social Workers and tearing up when finally driven to distraction

Do I sound bitter and angry, yes I do and I am. I and my cousin took on the care of our aunt and uncle. She is a hospital consultant and I was a benefit advisor with what was then Age Concern. Even we could not get Social Services (or hospital) to do a proper (statutory) assessment of the care needs of my aunt and uncle, who both had dementia and physical problems before discharging her from hospital after she had a stroke. She was discharged without contacting us first and just dumped at home with no equipment to help her and one carer coming in for 30 minutes three times a day. Over three days I and the carer had to get the GP out three times, ambulance service twice and Community Psychiatric Nurses twice before I finally lost my cool shouted very politely at Social Services and got them to find me a care home with 2 places (self-funded) immediately available. I do not want to think what would have happened if my relatives hadnt been self funding

My cousin and I wondered how, if a Hospital Consultant and Age Concern worker who both know the ropes can be defeated by Social Services, how on earth does anyone else manage

End of rant. Gosh, I do feel a lot better!

Mishap Tue 24-Jul-12 12:12:01

Rant seconded!! - now you know why I left SSD and became a freelance photographer/singing workshop leader/arts outreach worker.

I repeat - a solicitor's letter (at very small cost) or even the threat of one has them running scared and they back track straight away in my experience - now you know why SSD were glad to get rid of me!!

In all fairness though, SSDs are between a rock and a hard place. When this crazy community "care" legislation was proposed, all of us on the ground said that it would only work if sufficient funds were allocated so that LAs could implement it. Insufficient funds to implement their obligations have left LAs in an impossible situation and SWs left to bury their professional standards and play games with the very people they are supposed to be supporting - crazy and very sad indeed.

Mishap Tue 24-Jul-12 12:15:11

PS - appalled to hear the dreadful hospital discharge arrangements for your family Flick - hospitals and SSDs have a legal duty to organise proper discharge arrangements.

I did a lengthy research project on innovative ways of supporting elderly people when they leave hospital and had some brilliant results (mainly because of ideas suggested by a 90 year-old patient). Did the department implement these money-saving and supportive results? - did they heck!!

jeni Tue 24-Jul-12 12:42:54

I have met very similar!

NfkDumpling Tue 24-Jul-12 16:46:20

Oh dear!

nightowl Tue 24-Jul-12 17:32:34

I agree with everything mishap has said. Another good threat is to get your local councillor to contact them on your behalf. They are after all the Social Workers' employers and even managers sit up when a councillor is on the case.

NfkDumpling Wed 25-Jul-12 10:05:36

Thanks for all your support. My loins feel well and truly girded up and ready for the fray. We've a bit of time in hand as she still has too much money, so I can be ready for the attack.

Thanks girls/guys.

Mishap Wed 25-Jul-12 10:16:25

I do hope that being armed with knowledge you will be able to navigate the minefield successfully - good luck!

nightowl Wed 25-Jul-12 10:26:40

Mishap well done to you for escaping the nightmare that is Social Services (or whatever it's called - I can't keep up). I hope you left the door open on your way out as I'm still looking for it! grin

HildaW Wed 25-Jul-12 13:49:53

Agree about Social ruddy services. Once they knew the person we were caring for had plenty of money (and yes we were more than happy to pay for everything) they stopped even answering phone queries. Was not till we moved and found a wonderful local charity that we found were we could find out where to go. We were not asking for a penny, just good advise.