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Legal & money

How can I be expected to pay £ 1,000 per month top up for my father.

(60 Posts)
Jane1945 Tue 03-Jul-12 18:00:19

My father has been in a nursing home for 7 months.
He has very little money of his own.
He was assessed when he came out of hospital and was found to be eligible for full NHS funding.
Another assessment was carried out after 4 months and the results I was given verbally was that he would have to pay his own fees.
I pointed out he had no money and I was told that Social Services would have to pay and I will be required to pay a top up amounting to nearly £1,000 per month.
I just said I was going to see a solicitor but a letter came through the next morning stating he qualified for NHS funding and he will be assessed again in 3 months ie today.
I went to his assessment today and I was advised that he qualifies for full NHS funding but he will be re assessed in 12 months time.
The person doing the assessment then advised me to get myself in a position to pay the £1,000 top up per month by next year as he may not qualify for NHS funding.
I have my own house but my net pensions amount to £2,050 per month but I am 67 myself.
Social Services have not asked what my income is and as far as I am concerned I can not afford to pay £1,000 per month top up.
Most homes will not take Dad as he has attacked nurses in the hospital.
I am just wondering how I am expected to pay £1,000 per month and how does a pensioner with no occupational pension pay this amount.

Jane

Ariadne Tue 03-Jul-12 18:06:40

OMG! I don't know, but I bet someone on this forum will! You must be worried stiff - it cannot be right? xxx

glammanana Tue 03-Jul-12 18:12:11

jane1945 How dare the person doing the assessment scare you like this how does he/she know what your dear fathers condition will be this time next year ? The fact that you own your own home does not come into the equasion as it is your father who needs the care not you.I am not totally up to speed on the rights and wrongs of this but I am sure that one of our more clued up GNers will have the answer for you,please do not get stressed about it,I am sure good advice is on the way.flowers

jeni Tue 03-Jul-12 18:26:40

Try carol or anagram I think

absentgrana Tue 03-Jul-12 18:27:43

jane1945 I am pretty sure that you cannot be forced to pay for a parent's care, except in very exceptional circumstances which do not appear to apply to you. However, we have Gransnetters who have professional expertise in this area and who will, I am sure, be able to help you. I am familiar with a bullying social worker who is not prepared to listen but wishes to steamroller arrangements through. Stand your ground – with all the quiet courtesy in the world – while you find out the exact legal position. How horrid that you have been so badly upset. flowers

Anagram Tue 03-Jul-12 18:30:42

Like the others, I'm not well up on this subject, but surely it can't be the case that grown up children are liable to pay the cost of their parent's care if the parent has little or no money!
When will it end - will grandchildren eventually have to fund their own parents' care from any legacy left to them by their grandparents?
What about a second cousin twice-removed...? confused

Anagram Tue 03-Jul-12 18:31:57

(*jeni*, you must be confusing me with someone else! I know nothing!)

glammanana Tue 03-Jul-12 18:35:00

Thinking it may be annobel with her wealth of valuable information ?

jeni Tue 03-Jul-12 18:47:19

YES sorry anagram!

Annobel Tue 03-Jul-12 19:27:17

Thanks for the tribute, glamma, but I haven't got that piece of info at my fingertips. I don't think you can be made to pay for a parent's care, but wouldn't take an oath on that until I can look it up on the CAB info system. However, you will find the real experts at Age UK, so I advise consulting your nearest branch and getting chapter and verse so that you can confront that social worker in full possession of the facts.

Soupy Tue 03-Jul-12 21:02:27

Jane, I've been involved with two family members in care homes and a couple of questions spring to mind.

Is your father paying his own care costs? If he has savings or property over a certain amount then he will either have to pay full costs or a contribution. If his savings/income is less than approx £12.5K then Social Services should fund his care but they will only pay a certain amount per week.

If the home he is currently in is above their limit then that might be why they are mentioning money.

I have to complete an annual funding form for my family member and then the costs are worked out for the year. She is aware that once she becomes fully funded then she will have to move to a smaller room within her current home as there will be no spare money to pay the extra for a larger room.

Speak with Age Concern about this and try not to worry too much, if you can.

j04 Tue 03-Jul-12 21:13:23

this might be helpful

It doesn't sound as though local authorities can ask for money towards care costs from anyone other than the person needing the care. And if they have no money, then the local authority has to pay.

Anagram Tue 03-Jul-12 21:17:07

This bit worries me, though:

Council ‘usual rates’ sometimes bear no relationship to local market prices so there may be no places in an area at the council’s usual rate. In these instances councils will ask for third party top-ups – which can be paid for by relatives or charities.

Anagram Tue 03-Jul-12 21:18:04

i.e. it doesn't make clear how a relative's eligibility to pay is decided.

j04 Tue 03-Jul-12 21:19:18

It does actually mention third party top-ups that may be needed if the only accommodation available is higher in price than the local authorities 'usual rates'. But, apparently you can apply to a charity for help with this.

Definitely contact Age UK.

j04 Tue 03-Jul-12 21:20:34

Yes. That's the bit I mean Anagram. Let's hope a charity can be found to help!

Advice from Age UK definitely needed.

Mishap Wed 04-Jul-12 09:41:55

The social worker is out of order here.
He/she has no way of knowing what your father's care needs might be in 12 months' time. Being realistic, they are more likely to increase rather than decrease, and this means he would still be eligible for NHS funding.

The critical factor is are his needs care needs or nursing/medical needs. If the latter apply now it is likely to apply in a year's time, given that he is elderly.

I think you should go to your local Citizen's Advice bureau or a solicitor about this, so that you have clarity and the worry is not hanging over your head. SSD's do have the right to ask for top-up from a relative or other third party if they the cost of the care exceeds the amount that they are willing to pay, but, as I understand it, they cannot force you to do so and it is a voluntary agreement. However, if no third-party is available to make up the difference, they may insist that the individual goes into a cheaper home that comes within the SSD's limits.

I have copied some useful extracts for you below, but the most important thing to remember is that, sadly, elderly people's conditions tend to deteriorate so it is very unlikely that he will cease to be eligible for NHS funding and the problem should not arise..............................

Top-up fees

The local authority may also agree to pay for a place in a more expensive home if a third party, such as a family member or a charity, agrees to pay the difference. This is often called a top-up fee and in most cases it cannot be paid by the resident.

The amount of the top-up fee is the difference between what the local authority would usually expect to pay (depending on that particular person's care needs) and the extra cost of the care home.

Guidance states that if a top-up is agreed, the local authority remains responsible for all of the care home fees and must contract with the care home to pay these fees in full. The local authority can ask the third party to pay their contribution to the home directly or to themselves. However, the local authority is still responsible for the full cost of the accommodation if the top-up is not paid.

If you agree to pay a top-up fee it is advisable to get a written agreement with the local authority, the home and the resident. The agreement should include information about what will happen with rises in the cost of the care home and what would happen if the fees are not paid.

If top-up fees are not maintained, the local authority may move the person to a home within their budget. However, the person's needs must be met by this new home. To avoid the risk of disruption this could cause, it is important to make sure that you will be able to pay the top-up fees for as long as they are needed, and that you are prepared for possible fee increases.

Guidance states that local authorities should only seek top-up payments where there was a genuine alternative of a cheaper care home (within the local authority's budget) that would have met the person's needs and this home was turned down by the person with dementia or their family. The guidance also states that a local authority cannot ask for a top-up if it has decided to offer someone a place in more expensive accommodation in order to meet their assessed needs.

Will the person's relatives be liable?

When a local authority in England or Wales assesses the amount that the person with dementia should contribute to care, it should consider the income and savings of that individual only. Old rules in England and Wales that allowed local authorities to charge a husband, wife or civil partner were repealed on 6 April 2009.

See also this link for useful sources of advice: http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents_info.php?documentID=125

It is the relevant page of the Alzheimers Society - but the same rules apply whether someone has a dementia illness or not.

gillybob Wed 04-Jul-12 15:57:59

This is extremely worrying. Bearing in mind MISHAPs excellent information, is it not possible that unscrupulous "home owners" (meaning the owner of the Home) could assess what they believe to be the status of the relatives (for example they look well off or whatever) and then deliberately ask for top up payments knowing you would not wish to disrupt elderly relatives by moving them again.

Anagram Wed 04-Jul-12 16:13:19

Well, they could only do that if the local authority weren't going to continue paying the full amount, for one of the reasons given in Mishap's post. It would be the local authority that asked for the top-up fees.

Billmartins Wed 04-Jul-12 17:56:27

Hi Jane

The following link may be useful:

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/pensions/article-1608831/When-care-home-top-up-fees-are-illegal.html

Your situation sounds similar to what I had with my father.
He attacked 2 nurses and a visitor.
When I saw the Social Worker she asked if he had a house and I told her he lived with me and I own the house.
She recognised the road which generally has some up market houses and at first sugested I paid the fees and downsize my house if necessary.
I just turned round and said no and she then asked me what was my father supposed to do as he could seriously injure or even kill a child.
I knew they could not let him out on the streets and just told her the hospital would have to sort the situation out.
About 20 homes visited him and none would take him.
In the meantime I found out the NHS was responsible for his welfare.
The Social Worker then said that we were entitled to basic Council Funding but if I paid a top up there was a far higher chance of finding a care home.
Knowing the hospital could not just let him go onto the street I just refused to pay and threated legal action if he did not get full NHS funding.
About 20 more homes visited him and one home was willing to take him.
Full NHS funding was agreed but the Social Worker even then came back and said it was wrong I was living in an expensive property and expecting the NHS to foot the bill.
My view is my house does not belong to my father and I was not held liable for any of his fees and I think he would have been in the same nursing home had I paid.

Bill

j04 Wed 04-Jul-12 18:11:19

I suppose local authorities haven't got a bottomless pit of money.

Anagram Wed 04-Jul-12 18:21:01

Agreed - but what is it with some of these Social Workers? We keep hearing on this forum from people who've been told outright that they, the relatives, are under an obligation to pay top-up fees for their elderly parent's care, when it seems that they are not. Are they told to do this, in the hope that some people will actually pay up? It seems a very cynical and unethical way of doing things.

jeni Wed 04-Jul-12 18:26:53

A lot of social workers these days appear to be very poorly taught. My experience is that their knowledge of entitlement for benefits is nonexistent
What training are they given these days? Any?

Billmartins Wed 04-Jul-12 18:32:02

Hi j04

I see what you are saying but I started life in a council house and got myself a private house which is now fully paid for and have helped my 2 children to buy a house each and they are 90% paid for.
If the children of parents who lived in council houses who made the effort to buy houses had to sell them to fund their parents care there will be no insentive for them to get good jobs and not be reliant on the state / council.
I have got a reasonable pension / and a reasonably expensive house but not a lot in savings.
I may decide to downsize in the future and use some of the money to enjoy my retirement and to give more help to my children.
I am not prepared to let money which myself and my late wife built up to go on paying for the care of my father.
It is the responsibility of the NHS / Council to keep dangerous people off the streets.

Bill

Billmartins Wed 04-Jul-12 18:53:18

Hi jeni

I do think Social Workers know the council / nhs will have to pay if the relatives refuse.

Really I think they first ask if the person owns a house and then try to persuade the relatives to pay.

Social Services only pay as a last resort.

Bill