What help is available if you have been diagnosed with Dementia?
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Dementia, you may be feeling scared, nervous about the future and unable to take everything in. Your thoughts will be focused on how you will cope and what care you might need, and access to information can be quite limited. It is often the case that people who have been diagnosed with Dementia will be facing financial worries. As a carer or a person with Dementia you may no longer be able to work, you may need to pay for care or services that will support you and your family but finding this information is not easy as benefits for people suffering from Dementia is not widely publicised and can be a minefield.
For example, people with Dementia are eligible for a discount on their Council Tax bill. If a person living on their own has been diagnosed with Dementia they will qualify for a full exemption on Council Tax. Similarly, in a situation where a couple are living together and one person is diagnosed with Dementia, the 25% single-occupancy discount can be applied. You would need to provide a certificate confirming your diagnosis, usually from your GP or consultant. This could save you a considerable amount of money which can then be applied to providing you with the best care possible.
What other benefits might you be entitled to?
- Attendance Allowance – if you are aged over 65 and have care needs then you might qualify for Attendance Allowance, which is paid at different rates, depending upon the needs you have, but can be as much as £87 per week at the current rates (April 2019 – April 2020). This money is tax free and is not means tested.
- Pension Credits – this is a means tested benefit and therefore only available to people on a low income. It is worth looking into whether you would qualify and if you do it can then lead to other potential benefits such as cold weather payments and housing benefits. Pension Credits are split into two parts, Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, and you may be eligible for one or both of these.
- Carers Allowance – this is a benefit paid to a carer. If you spend at least 35 hours per week caring for someone and you are aged over 16 then you may qualify for a Carers Allowance. There are other things that will need to be taken into consideration when assessing your eligibility for carers allowance (such as your income and the state pension you are receiving) and it could affect some of the benefits being paid to the person being cared for, so it is important to seek some advice before making your claim. If you are a carer then you may wish to look into whether you would qualify for Carer’s Credit which would help build your entitlement to the basic state pension.
There may be other benefits that you would qualify for which are not listed above.
It is important for you or your family to seek advice so that you are receiving all the help you need. In the first instance you may wish to consult with the Government website (www.gov.uk) which provides details of the benefits available and how you apply. You can also speak to your GP about the Dementia support groups available in your area. Support groups are often run by charities such as Age UK or Alzheimer’s Society. Dementia UK also run a national helpline service.
Managing your finances and ensuring you have the best care in place when you have been diagnosed with Dementia can be stressful and you may need to rely on the help of others. It is important that you have Lasting Powers of Attorney in place so that you have appointed a trusted family member or friend to act as your Attorney. Your Attorney can then legally act on your behalf with regard to your financial affairs and health and welfare decisions. You must arrange to have the Power of Attorney put in place whilst you have the capacity to do so.
If you would like to discuss your estate planning please contact Claire on 01256 320555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We can offer you a complimentary 30 minute appointment to see me or one of my colleagues in the Wills and Estate Planning Team.
Partner in Wills & Estate Planning
Please contact Claire Redhead for any further information on the points raised above.