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Ep6: Yes to securing social care funding

Speaker Key:

KM             Kieran Money

PC              Paul Crompton



PC              Hello, and welcome to Yes To You, the Lifeways social care podcast. Lifeways is the UK’s largest team of support professionals, who provide support for adults in the community. In this episode, you’ll be learning how to secure funding for social care, why it’s important, and some of the nuances of funding. I’m Paul Crompton, marketing communications manager and podcast host here, and I’m speaking to Kieran Money, who’s a Lifeways Enquiry, Referrals and Engagement manager for the central east of the country.

                   Kieran helps individuals living around South Yorkshire, Leicestershire and Lincolnshire to find the right support in the right supported living or residential service for them. He also assists with working with funders to find the best possible methods of paying for care. I think it also helps to be discussing funding with a guest whose last name is actually Money. So Kieran, welcome to the podcast.

KM             Thank you very much for having me, Paul. Quite excited to be here.

PC              Fab. I understand this is your very first podcast, but I know that you're very, very knowledgeable on these questions as we've discussed them before. So let's start with the first one. Let's say that I'm a person that we might support, let's say, I have nothing in place, I know I need support, but I really don't even know what my first steps are. So what are my first steps here very broadly speaking?


KM             So generally, before Lifeways or any other provider could get involved with offering you support, you would need to have a care needs assessment completed, and that that would be done by your local authority. So first step along this journey, is always speak to social services in your local authority and ask for a needs assessment. It's your legal right to have a needs assessment, the local authority shouldn't deny you that assessment. So that'd be the first step, get in touch, get that arranged, and then things should progress from there.

PC              Right. Okay. And in this case, what is very simply social care funding, and why does it matter?

KM             Well, ultimately, most people aren't wealthy enough to be able to pay for their own care. So social care funding is funding provided for, by the local authority to meet the needs of us, the citizens of this country. And to make sure that we have the care we need, [unclear], simply.

                   Social care funding will provide places in care homes, it would pay for supported living services, and even help you stay in your own home if your needs could be met there. So social care funding can also help provide services such as support with meals, with carers, with transport costs, maybe modifications to your own home, and the support with equipment that might help with tasks with daily living.


PC              Right. So is it correct to say then, that most people that we support here at Lifeways, and I should emphasise to the listener that these people can be any age from the age of 18 all the way up into old age. Are the vast majority of those people having a local authority paying for them or are they paying themselves?

KM             No, I think you'd be right in saying that, Paul. Most people have the local authority fund their care.

PC              And let's say, though, that I'm a parent, and my child is, say 18 or 19. And I as the parent have plenty of money, but my child in this case doesn't. Do I have to pay for their care? And also, to add to that, if I could do a double prong question, what if my child will be turning 18 but isn't yet?

KM             I think, in short, Paul, no, you're under no obligation ever to pay for anybody else's care. As part of that initial needs assessment I mentioned, the local authority should complete a financial assessment so that they will determine what income you've got, what financial support you've already got in place.

                   And only if you as the individual have substantial savings or substantial capital, will you look to pay for your own care. So now, you'd never have to pay for somebody else's care. And again, that's the case for your child, or adults, whether your child is an adult, or whether your child is still a child, you don't have to pay for their care.

PC              How long does it take then to secure funding?


KM             Once the individual has identified needs, which like I said, should be outlined in that initial needs assessment. The process is generally a bit quicker, because it's confirmed the person needs support with X, Y and Z. Each local authority has a very slightly different process around how social workers and what other professionals would present cases to get funding in place.

                   But again, ultimately, once someone's needs are identified, they will have a personal budget that must meet those needs. So for example, if someone's got a mobility issue, and they need support, maybe getting in and out of the bath, they'd have a support need there in meeting their personal hygiene. And therefore, a budget must be allowed to help with that specific need.

PC              Right. And in my time in working in social care, I've heard of care packages going anywhere from let's say, 500, 600 a week, all the way up to, I've even heard of 20,000 a week, in one case, years ago. Given these amounts of money at stake here for the support of one individual, can it sometimes be difficult to secure the sufficient amount of funding needed?

KM             Yes, absolutely. I think like all industries, there's always a degree of negotiation and a degree of consideration provider has to take into account for long-term care packages. I think there's a lot of differences in different services. So supported living services can generally cost one amount of money, whereas residential care fees can sometimes be the higher end of those fees, like you've mentioned. So it very much depends on the individual's needs, depends on the environment they need and the all-round support.


PC              And how does one evidence needs, because I've spoken to many family members who have said that, for example, their child who may be in their 20s or 30s, lives with, for example, autism, a learning disability. But they can't actually provide any proof, as in they know, to them it's as clear as day perhaps, but it may not be clear to anyone else that these needs do exist. So how as a parent do I go about evidencing these needs for the person that I'm supporting, this case, my child?

KM             I think the best and most simplistic way would be to have an official diagnosis. I think a lot of people may suspect their loved one or their child has a certain diagnosis, the first thing I would advise is to speak to your GP, get that diagnosis confirmed through whichever means they recommend.

                   And then that way, you've got the grounds to state well, this person does have X needs and therefore they need support. I think if the person has a diagnosis, and that's confirmed, then again, that social care needs assessment from the local authority is going to be quite key in confirming what support it is that individual needs. And then people like myself… For Lifeways, other providers would come in and complete our own assessment of needs.

                   That would be very similar in many respects to what the local authority does, but we'd be looking at the specific needs of that person in a service, maybe one of our services, and how we could potentially adapt to service to meet that person's needs.


PC              And generally, the first step would be contacting the GP of the individual or perhaps their social worker, is that right?

KM             Yes, absolutely. Yes. Speak to the GP if you think there's a care need there with an individual that hasn't already been identified. So for example, some people may live at home with their parents, the parents may not realise there's a subtle difference in their behaviour to what's neurotypical. And actually, they've maybe got an underlying diagnosis of autism. That means they may require some support later in life. So first case, speak to the GP, get those assessments done medically and professionally. And then you've got the diagnosis and know where the support is needed then.

PC              Are there ever cases, or situations, I should say, where the need is not sufficiently proven? As in the local authority basically comes back and says, well, we're not going to support because we don't believe there's a high enough level of need here. Is that is that a common thing?

KM             I wouldn't know if it's common, particularly, I think people that we generally work with have quite confirmed needs. I think it's important to say that the needs assessment completed by local authorities is a nationally agreed on recognised standard of needs. So if somebody has needs that generally picked up on that assessment initially by the local authority.


PC              And let's say that I have secured funding from my local authority for my child, what is covered by this funding? Does this include, for example, housing costs if I'm moving to a Lifeways supported living service?

KM             So in the case, your loved one moving into supported living service, the funding would cover their care and support, and only their care and support. Everything else would be picked up by other means. So housing costs, utilities, bills, all the other day to day costs would be met through the other benefits. If your child was moving into a residential service, alternatively, then generally all costs are met through that funding,

PC              Let us say that I’m in a bit of an intermediate situation, I'm the person that is supported in this scenario, and I have inherited from the sale of a house or, for example, let's say a £100,000 pounds. So considering that my care costs may be £2,000 pounds a week, obviously, that's not going to last me forever. But in this case, it would last me about a year. So in this case, who pays?

KM             So as part of your initial assessment, you will also have a financial assessment, which will look at things like your income, your capital, and maybe how much money you've got to your name. That will basically determine whether or not you need to fully pay for your care, whether you contribute something towards your care, or whether a local authority will pay completely for your care. And there are certain thresholds where you would pay for your care or contribute to your care.


                   So off the top of my head, I think it's about £23,500, after that much money, you would start to pay for your care fully. Once your finances dropped under that care, you would have to contribute to your care. And there's another threshold whereby your care would all be funded. So it very much depends on how much money you've gotten in your… Your example there, where you got £100,000 pounds, until that money dropped under the next threshold, you would be responsible to pay for your own care.

PC              Right. So essentially, the money would keep ticking down as it were until it got down to about 23 and a half grand. And then at that point, I keep the 23 and a half grand in my own savings account, for example, and the local authority or whoever is funding their pay, then their support money as it were, kicks in, is that right?

KM             That’s right. Yes. I think current advice would recommend you, you speak to local authority about three months before you think your savings are going to drop below that point, so that the funding is in place for that time. Because local authorities won't refund you savings, if that makes sense. So if you drop below that £23,500, and keep spending it before the local authority picks it up, that money will also go on your care.

PC              Right. And let's say I've moved into a service and effectively, I am self-paying with the money that I own, do I then have to move the service, or can I carry on living in the same service, this time supported by the local authority?


KM             Generally speaking, the local authority will continue to support you within that service. You will have likely have had some local authority support to move into that service in the first place. And therefore, they will probably be of the understanding that once your savings dropped below a certain threshold, they will start picking up the bill and providing that payment.

PC              Right. And from a financial perspective. As the listener may know, in Lifeways, we do two different types of support generally, and that is supported living and residential care. And in a financial sense, what's the difference between moving into a supported living service versus say, a residential service.

KM             So I think, generally speaking, supported living would be considered to be the more independent of the two options, people with complex needs do live within supported living services as well as residential services. So firstly, it's important to note that an individual's needs would determine which services is most appropriate to them.

                   In supported living, an individual would hold their own tenancy. And they would therefore be responsible to pay their own bills such as gas, electricity, they'd fund their own transport, they’d buy their own food, and they might contribute to things like council tax. When you're in residential care, all of those costs are taken into account as part of the package.


                   Obviously, that then greatly reduces the amount of income you get through other benefits. And generally, that income is then just for you to get out about and do things and partaking in hobbies and those things. But when you're in supported living, you get more benefits, but you're responsible to pay for your bills as you and I would be in our home.

PC              Right. And finally, let's say I or my family member is moving into a Lifeways supported living service, what are some costs that I have to think about here? So for example, in this podcast, we've talked about the cost of actually living in the service, the cost of the support received, but of course, I have many other expenses in life to do with, for example, grocery shopping, transport, clothes. What are some costs that I have to think about here?

KM             Yes. So like you say, assuming somebody is ready to move in, they've got their care package agreed, and the costs are being met by the local authority, other costs consider would be things like furnishings for the home. Does the person need to furnish a bedroom or are they furnishing an entire flat? Consider then, things like white goods, whether they're required, whether they're provided by the housing provider themselves.

                   And so the other day to day things, utilities, just the individual wanting their property decorated in a certain way. So again, is that a budget, they've got to look at maybe having a painter or decorator come in. And then it's all the other bits and bobs, broadband, anything else the individual might want within their home. So they're the main considerations when moving, and again, it's not much different in my mind, to if you and I were to move home and there are considerations you have to make really.


PC              Great. Well, thanks for speaking to me, Kieran. It's really great to gain from your understanding of social care funding.

KM             Lovely. Thank you for having me, Paul.

PC              To family members and people who want to find out more on securing funding, we'd recommend doing a web search for the keywords, Lifeways securing funding. The first link you'll see is a downloadable nine-page PDF guide that I actually wrote with lots of assistance from Kieran. So I highly recommend checking that guide out. And thanks to you the listener for tuning in to this episode of Yes To You. We will be releasing new episodes all about adult supported and residential living every month. So if you haven't already, please do subscribe. See you next time.


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