What is the 12-week property disregard?
When a local authority is assessing how much you should contribute towards your care costs, the value of your property may be disregarded for the first 12 weeks in a care home, under certain circumstances. This is intended to give you some valuable time before making important financial decisions, such as whether to sell your home to pay for a care home.
For example, if you decide to move permanently into a care home (in England, Wales or Northern Ireland), and you own your own property, have low income and your savings are below the capital threshold for care funding (for example, £23,250 in England), then the council must ignore the value of your property for the first 12 weeks after you move into the home.
The council may ignore the value of your property for the first 12 weeks after you move into a care home.
After 12 weeks the value of your property will be counted as part of your capital and you will most likely be required to pay the full cost of your care.
You don’t necessarily have to sell your property, however. You may choose to rent it out or apply for a deferred payment agreement to cover your ongoing care costs. You can also seek other sources of funding to pay for your care.
In some cases, the 12-week disregard can be applied when you are already in permanent care if there is a sudden or unexpected change in your financial circumstances.
In Scotland, the rules are slightly different. The value of your home should be disregarded if your stay is deemed to be temporary (this can be for up to 52 weeks). The 12-week disregard period starts from the time a decision is made that the stay in the care home is permanent.
For more information about how local authorities across the UK work out whether you are eligible for financial support towards the cost of a care home, see our advice on local authority care home funding:
What happens if I sell my home during the 12-week disregard?
In these circumstances, it’s likely that your capital will then exceed the capital threshold. You will then become responsible for paying your own care costs from the date your property sells.
Attendance Allowance and the property disregard
While you are in receipt of the 12-week property disregard, any Attendance Allowance you are being paid will be stopped after 28 days. This is because if you receive any council funding, you’re no longer entitled to receive the allowance. It should be reinstated automatically at the end of this period, but it will be worth checking your bank statement when the time comes, just in case.
If you’re able to pay for your care in full from your income, then you may want to consider declining the offer of a 12-week property disregard and to continue to claim Attendance Allowance throughout. The benefit of the allowance may be greater than the benefit of the disregard. Seek advice from your local authority if this scenario applies to you.
Read more about how moving into a care home affects your benefits and other income:
Government funding might be available to help pay for a care home. We explain the means test and other rules.
You can request a deferred payment agreement from the council if you’re struggling to pay care home fees.
We explain how to cover the costs of a care home if you are a self-funder, and what happens if your money runs out.