The 12-Week Property Disregard
The 12-week property disregard is designed to provide individuals the breathing space to sell their property by paying their care home fees for the first 12 weeks. The council will pay your care home fees for these 12 weeks, or until your property sells, depending which occurs first.
If you are moving into permanent residential care, you should look carefully at your capacity to pay, and if there is any doubt you should consider a financial assessment, something that is covered elsewhere in this paper.
When the local authorities (LA) complete a financial assessment, they look at your income, your savings and any other wealth including the value of any property you may own, and they use this information to decide if you need to pay for your own care or if you should receive state support.
The threshold limit is fairly simple: if you have more than £23,250 capital, you are considered a self-funder and will have to pay for your own care.
However, in the case of those older people that are ‘asset rich but cash poor’ they may comfortably sit above the threshold with respect to overall wealth, but not have any liquid assets to cover the cost of their care fees. In those cases, a 12-week property disregard may be appropriate.
What is a 12 week property disregard?
This means that the Local Authority will complete a financial assessment on an individual but “disregard” the value of their property, in order to establish if they would be able to pay for care home fees without selling their house.
For example, Joan has a house worth £250K and £9K in savings, when the Council assess her they will “disregard” the £250K and only look at the £9K, at which point they will decide that she is entitled to care fee support whilst she releases the value tied up in her home.
When that has been established, they will pay Joan’s care fees for a 12-week period whilst your house is being sold
Who is entitled to a 12 week property disregard?
The criteria for entitlement is fairly simple, the council must disregard the value of your property for 12 weeks if:
- You are living in a care home, and
- You have less than £23,250 in savings, and
- You own a property, which when sold, will provide sufficient funds to cover the cost of your future care.
How much do they pay?
If the Council deem you eligible for a 12-week disregard, they will cover your care fees up to the maximum of the appropriate band of care that you fall into- generally that is between £400 – £600.
In many cases that will be below the fee levels for your chosen care home, when that occurs you may be able to pay the difference using the following options:
- Third person top up – where a loved one pays the shortfall on behalf of the individual
- First person top up – where the individual pays their own shortfall
Note – the first person top up is not available for most care funding options but it is for the 12-week disregard.
What should you do?
If you believe that the criteria above relate to yourself then you should speak to your social worker, explain why you feel that you are eligible, and arrange the financial assessment.
For more information or if you wish to discuss care for your loved one please email firstname.lastname@example.org