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Do Relatives Have to Pay Care Home Top Up Fees?


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As the population ages, more and more people are finding themselves or their loved ones in need of residential care. The question then arises - who is responsible for the costs? More specifically, do relatives have to pay care home top up fees? This blog post will delve into this topic and provide some clarity on the matter.


Understanding Care Home Costs


Before we dive into the specifics of care home top up fees, it's essential to understand the overall cost of a care home. Care homes provide accommodation, meals, personal care, and often nursing care for individuals who cannot live independently. The cost varies depending on factors like location, level of care required, and whether the home is privately or publicly funded.


In the UK, local authorities may help with these costs if an individual’s assets (including savings and property) are below a certain threshold. However, if an individual chooses a more expensive care home than what their local authority is willing to fund, they may be asked to pay a 'top-up' fee.


What Are Care Home Top Up Fees?


Care home top up fees come into play when an individual chooses a home that is more expensive than their local authority has agreed to fund. This could be due to various reasons such as preferring a specific location, or a specific Care Home, such as Keate House.


The 'top-up' is essentially the difference between what the local authority pays and the actual cost of the chosen care home. It's important to note that before agreeing to a top-up fee arrangement, all parties involved should fully understand their obligations.


Who Is Responsible For Paying The Top Up Fees?


Now we come back to our original question - do relatives have to pay these top up fees? The answer is not straightforward as it depends on several factors.


Firstly, it's important to note that the individual requiring care should not be asked to pay the top-up fee from their own income unless they have a third party willing to help. This is because their income is already considered when assessing what they can afford to contribute towards their care.


If a third party, such as a relative or friend, agrees to pay the top-up fee, they should understand that this is usually an ongoing commitment and not a one-off payment. They should also be aware that the amount could increase over time.


If there is no third party willing or able to pay the top-up fee and the individual still wants to live in a more expensive care home, they might have to fund this themselves. This would usually mean selling assets such as property or using savings.


What Happens If A Relative Can't Continue Paying The Top-Up Fee?


If a relative who agreed to pay the top-up fee finds themselves unable to continue payments, it's crucial they inform the local authority as soon as possible. The local authority will then reassess the situation. They may find another care home that meets the individual's needs within their funding limits or see if there are other ways for them to meet the additional costs.


In conclusion, while relatives can agree to pay care home top up fees, it's not an obligation. It is a choice, normally to help place their loved one in a particular home.

It's essential for all parties involved in such decisions to fully understand their commitments and potential implications. If you find yourself in this situation and are unsure about your options or obligations, it would be wise to seek professional advice. If you have any questions and placing a loved one at Keate House, or want to find out more, don't hesitate to contact us.

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