High price increase: If the pension for the nursing home is not enough

Everything is getting more expensive, for many also the place in the nursing home.

High price increase: If the pension for the nursing home is not enough

Everything is getting more expensive, for many also the place in the nursing home. But by no means all those affected can cope financially with a price increase. And then?

Energy costs, food and staff are becoming more expensive. Care in the home also costs more as a result. But what if an increase is pending and it is clear: the pension is not enough for that? Can I avoid the price increase? Will my children be asked to pay? Does the house that was intended for the children have to be sold now? Questions and answers on the topic.

Right from the start: What to do if the home management demands more money for the home place?

It is best for affected families to first check whether the formal requirements are correct. An increase must be announced in writing and signed. "Why the home management wants more money, they have to justify it in an absolutely transparent and detailed way," says the lawyer Ulrike Kempchen from the BIVA care protection association, which represents the interests of those in need of care.

General statements that the increase was the result of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy crisis were not enough. In the letter, the home management must also compare the old and new fees. "It is also important that it is clear what scale the home management wants to use to pass the increased costs on to the residents," explains lawyer Verena Querling from the NRW consumer advice center. In addition, the price increase must be announced at least four weeks in advance.

What if I'm not sure if the price increase is correct?

Be sure to consult professionals. The local consumer advice center can help, but so can the BIVA care protection association. Basically, the following applies: "The price increase should be checked carefully and, if necessary, demand access to the calculation documents," says Kempchen.

Can I object to the increase?

Yes. Especially if the formal requirements are not met. Those affected should then inform the management of the home in writing of their point of view and explain that they consider the increase to be ineffective. "If they don't do that, it can be taken as approval," warns Kempchen. Her tip: Pay the price increase with reservations. If you don't pay, you run the risk of losing your place in the home.

The care place can no longer be financed with the pension and savings. Do I have to sell the home that I actually wanted to inherit?

It can happen. Because in order to finance a stay in a home, those in need of care must first use up their own assets. Only then can they, for example, ask their children to pay or apply for state aid.

Good to know: There is a saving of 5,000 euros that does not have to be used to finance care. Owning your own home can also be a protective asset. For example, if the spouse lives there.

If the home is used, it does not necessarily have to be sold. There are different possibilities. "You can often rent it out that way," says Querling. The income can then be used to finance the place in the home.

Years ago I gave money and jewelry to my children and grandchildren. What is to be considered now?

Parents and grandparents can demand the return of property that has been given away, as well as cash or jewellery, when it comes to financing a stay in a home that would otherwise have to be paid for by the social welfare agency. However, this only applies to donations within the last ten years. "If the recipient no longer has the cash given away because it was spent, those affected must explain this," says Kempchen.

According to a ruling by the Celle Higher Regional Court (Az: 6 U 76/19), the social welfare agency can even reclaim money that a grandmother has saved in accounts for her grandchildren over the years. The court argued that regular payments to family members to build up capital were so-called "privileged gifts". They could be reclaimed if the donor himself is in need.

And when it comes to birthday presents - for example when I, as a grandfather, gave my granddaughter 500 euros for her birthday?

Such a gift of money is legally a so-called "occasion-related decency gift". According to a judgment by the Regional Court of Aachen (Ref.: 3 S 127/16) from February 2017, this also applies to a grandmother’s pocket money payments. In the case of decency gifts, the social welfare agency may not access them.

When are children generally asked to pay?

Since the beginning of 2020, this has only been the case in the course of parental maintenance from a gross annual income of the child of 100,000 euros. "When checking the income limit, only the child's income is important," says Querling. Anyone who does not earn an income of more than 100,000 euros alone, but only together with their spouse, is not legally obliged to help finance the place in the home.

Does a child who has not had contact with their father or mother for years also have to pay?

Only in exceptional cases can children, for whom the financial requirements are met, say no to parental maintenance. "There must be very serious reasons," explains BIVA expert Kempchen. Missing contact is not one of them. However, abuse on the part of the parent in question can be a reason why a well-earning child does not have to pay child support.

Who is entitled to the social benefit "help for care" - and how do you get it?

Anyone who can prove that their own income is not sufficient, that their assets do not exceed EUR 5,000 and that they do not have well-earning children with an annual gross income of EUR 100,000. Those affected submit the application for "help for care" to the responsible social welfare agency. He checks whether the person actually meets the requirements.

Am I eligible for Nursing Home Allowance?

"The nursing home allowance could also be an option for those who don't have enough money," explains consumer advocate Querling. The catch: The nursing home allowance is only available in North Rhine-Westphalia, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein. It is paid if the income and assets of the person in need of care are insufficient. The investment costs for a home - such as building rent and maintenance costs - are then financed from this.

The asset allowance for nursing home allowance is EUR 10,000 for single people and EUR 15,000 for spouses or life partners.

What else should those affected consider in such a situation?

It doesn't matter whether it's "help for care" or nursing home allowance: "It's important to apply for such benefits as early as possible so that the money is actually there when it's needed," says Querling. Because debts are not taken over.

Home residents can often also claim other benefits from the social welfare office, such as a flat-rate fee for clothing. And perhaps it makes sense to explore options for switching to outpatient care. "It's often cheaper than the stationary version," says Kempchen.

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