Free personal care in Scotland
South of the border, most people pay some or all of the costs. There are some exceptions. NHS Continuing Care should pick up the tab for those who qualify. And if you meet your local authority’s eligibility threshold for care, and your finances are sufficiently straitened, then you should get care services without paying.
In Scotland, free personal care is available for those who are assessed by their local authority as needing it.
Update February 2021 – more support for self-funders
Adults who pay for their residential care in Scotland will be better off from April as a result of a change to the rates of allowances they receive for personal and nursing care.
People who ‘self-fund’ their residential care receive a fixed allowance towards the cost of their personal and nursing care.
These allowances will be increased by 7.5 per cent, well above the normal annual increase, in recognition of the increasing cost of providing care, particularly for people with dementia.
The change is backed by an additional £10.1 million provided to Local Authorities in order to cover the increases.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“I am pleased to confirm that we will increase the allowances paid to people who are paying self-funder rates for their residential care by 7.5%.
“Care home costs have been rising above inflation for a number of years and this is an important step towards to bringing the rates closer to the actual cost of personal and nursing care.
“The Independent Review of Adult Social Care will be published later this week and in responding to its recommendations there will be opportunities to consider wider reforms to the way residential care is funded and delivered, to ensure the highest standards of care and wellbeing for people who use adult social care, and support for their families, carers and the workforce.”
Free personal and nursing care for all adults
Adults of any age, no matter their condition, capital or income, who are assessed by their local authority as needing personal care, are entitled to receive this without charge.
Free nursing care is provided in a similar way to all who are assessed as requiring it.
People resident in care homes who have capital above the higher Capital Limit (currently £28,500) are known as self-funders.
Local Authorities make payments to cover the personal care (currently at £180 per week) and nursing care (currently at £81 per week) part of self-funder care home fees. These are paid directly to the residential care provider on a weekly basis.
Under the normal inflationary measure used to calculate allowances, these payments would have increased by 1.94% this year.
New allowances from April 2021
• Personal Care – currently £180, will go up to £193.50 per week from 1st April
• Nursing Care – currently £80, will go up to £87.10 per week from 1st April
This represents an annual increase of 7.5%
How to find out about personal care services
In the first instance, you need to contact your local social work services department to have your care needs assessed. The types of personal care provided will vary according to your assessed care needs.
You may receive personal care services from the local authority, or receive payments so that you can choose who will provide you with the services.
If you live in a care home, the local authority will assess whether you need these services, and if so, pay £180 per week (rate as at April 1, 2020) on your behalf directly to your care provider. Payments of free personal and nursing care made by the local authority direct to the care provider are not liable to income tax.
The local social work services will assess you for:
Personal Hygiene – Bathing, showering, hair washing, shaving, oral hygiene, nail care
Continence Management – Toileting, catheter/stoma care, skin care, incontinence laundry, bed changing
Food and Diet – Assistance with the preparation of food and assistance with the fulfilment of special dietary needs
Problems with Immobility – Dealing with the consequences of being immobile or substantially immobile
Counselling and Support – Behaviour management, psychological support, reminding devices
Simple Treatments – Assistance with medication (including eye drops), application of creams and lotions, simple dressings, oxygen therapy
Personal Assistance – Assistance with dressing, surgical appliances, prostheses, mechanical and manual aids. Assistance to get up and go to bed. Transfers including the use of a hoist
The following care services may be chargeable:
Help with housework
Services outside the home, such as day care centres or lunch clubs
Supplying food or pre-prepared meals is chargeable, but support with preparing meals is provided free
The council can arrange these services but they are subject to a financial assessment.