The cost of care is a source of worry for many. No one wants to be either poor or a burden on others. Fortunately, the idea that people should be thankful for small mercies no longer holds sway, although the process of obtaining funding can seem daunting at first.


What are you entitled to?


You are likely to be eligible for at least some help with funding from the Government, through your local authority.


The first step is to request a free care assessment from your Social Services department; this includes assessment both of care needs and your financial situation. The information you receive will give you a basis for making the best decisions.


Private funding


If you have to meet some or all of your care costs yourself, you should take the advice of a properly authorised financial advisor on the best way to do this. If you decide, for example, on equity release, professional help is absolutely essential.


Philip Parkinson Homecare is not allowed, by law, to advise on financial matters. Incidentally, as well as an authorised advisor, it is an excellent idea if a family member with some experience of finance can help. Such a person will also be valuable in helping to choose a financial advisor.


Direct payments


If you have been assessed as needing care services, you may be offered direct payments, which are made by your local council directly to you so that you can organise and pay for your care services. These payments are designed to support you to remain living at home, encouraging independence and social inclusion in areas such as employment, education and leisure activities.

Who can get direct payments?


They can be made to disabled people aged 16 or over, to people with parental responsibility for disabled children, and to carers aged 16 or over in respect of carer services. A person must be able to consent to have a direct payment and have the capacity to manage one, although they can have assistance to manage their payment on a day-to-day basis.


Will direct payments cost me anything?


You will need to have a financial assessment with your local authority social care service before getting direct payments. During this assessment the money you have coming in and going out, i.e weekly outgoings - including costs related to a disability or illness are looked at. Depending on the outcomes, you may be required to contribute towards the cost of your care. If this is the case, and you get direct payments, your contribution is taken before the direct payment is paid to you.


How would direct payments be paid to me?


You will need to set up a bank account which can be used specifically for your direct payment. Here at Philip Parkinson Homecare we can assist you to do this. Direct payments are usually paid four weeks in advance, depending on what they are to be used for.


Can I spend the money on anything I like?


Although you can be very flexible how you spend your direct payment, what you purchase has to meet your assessed social care needs. A direct payment contract will be drawn up, which will include how you intend to spend your money. This can include employing an individual who will provide support in a way that suits you - swimming, going to the park, shopping or any other interest that you may have.


Can I contract with an agency?


If you would prefer not to have the responsibility of being an employer you can use your direct payment to contract with an independent agency It is important to check very carefully that your chosen homecare agency meets your requirements and that you are happy with the agency that you have selected.


Philip Parkinson Homecare