When is the home disregarded?
The value of your home is disregarded for the first 12 weeks of your admission to a care home as a permanent resident.
If you leave residential care – where you've been living on a permanent basis – before the end of the 12 weeks and then re-enter on a permanent basis within 52 weeks, you'll be entitled to the remaining balance of the 12-week disregard.
If you leave permanent care and then re-enter more than 52 weeks later, you'll qualify for the disregard again.
The home should be disregarded indefinitely if:
- your stay in the care home is temporary
- it's occupied by your spouse, partner or civil partner
- it's occupied by a lone parent who's your estranged or divorced partner
- it's occupied by a relative or member of your family who's:
- aged 60 or over
- is incapacitated, or
- is a child under 16 whom you're liable to maintain
- the local council decides to do so at its discretion
The 12-week property disregard should be applied for all permanent residents who have approached the local council, and who should then carry out a financial assessment to determine the person’s ability to pay for – or contribute towards – their care costs.
If your local council is not applying the 12-week disregard, you can raise this directly with them through their formal complaints process.
Meaning of temporary resident
A temporary resident is one who intends to return home. A temporary stay can last up to 52 weeks or longer in certain circumstances.
Meaning of partner
The term partner doesn't apply to divorced or estranged couples, unless one or both are lone parents.
Meaning of relative
Relatives are defined as:
- parents, including step-parents and parents-in-law
- children, including step-children, children-in-law and adopted children
- brothers and sisters
- uncles and aunts
- nephews and nieces
- spouses, civil partners or partners
- Member of the resident's family
Family is defined as:
- a married couple, unmarried couple or civil partnership, and any person who is a member of the same household and who is the responsibility of either or both members of the couple
- a person who's not a member of a married or unmarried couple or civil partnership, and any person who is a member of the same household and who is the responsibility of the resident.
Meaning of incapacitated
The local council decides if a relative can be considered to be incapacitated. It would be reasonable to consider a relative is incapacitated if they receive any of these or similar benefits:
- Personal Independence Payment
- Disability Living Allowance
- Severe Disablement Benefit
- Attendance Allowance
- any similar benefit
or the relative is likely to qualify for any of the above. Medical evidence may be required.
Local council discretion
Local councils have powers of discretion to disregard the value of the resident's home if they consider it reasonable to do so.
For example, if the home is occupied by someone who is not a relative or child, and who gave up their own home to be the resident's carer prior to the resident's permanent admission to the care home, the council may choose to disregard the home.
The payment of care home fees is a complex subject and depends on many things which are unique to you.
If you want detailed information or personal advice, ask an experienced independent adviser like:
Citizens Advice Scotland – phone 0808 800 9060, 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday, or 10am to 2pm on a Saturday.
Age Scotland – its fact sheets have information on paying for care homes, or phone their helpline on 0800 12 44 222.
The information was last updated on: 8th September 2020