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Residential Care Loan
If you're going into residential care and want to keep your home for a while, you may not be able to pay for the cost of your care. You may be able to get a Residential Care Loan to help pay for this.
We look at each loan application on a case-by-case basis. There is no obligation to approve a loan.
Before you apply for a Residential Care Loan, check if you qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy. This a subsidy that will help pay for your care and you don't have to pay it back.
A Residential Care Loan is an agreement with the Crown to provide a loan for the cost of your care. It's secured by placing a caveat over your home.
It's an interest-free loan paid directly to the rest home. It's usually repaid when you pass away or when your home is sold, whichever happens first.
The Ministry of Health pays for the loan. We do things like:
- prepare loan agreements and other documents
- a financial means assessment
- handle settlements.
You may be able to get a Residential Care Loan if:
- you still own the home you lived in before going into residential care
- your home is worth more than $273,628 in assets (if it's less, you may qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy)
- the total of any other assets you own is less than $15,000 if you're single, or $30,000 if you have a partner.
To approve your application, we'll check that:
- it fits within the loan scheme
- we can secure a caveat over your home
- there are no risks around:
- being able to recover the loan
- being able to repay the loan
- meeting the terms and conditions of the loan agreement.
If you get a Residential Care Loan, it will be paid directly to the rest home to help pay for your care.
How much you get depends on the rest home fees and where you live. For example, the amount you can get if you live in Auckland City is $1,464.26 a week. This is the maximum amount you can get anywhere in NZ.
If you get a benefit or pension, most of it will also go to the rest home. You'll keep $52.89 a week (after tax on an M tax code). This is called a personal allowance.
Step 1 - Contact a Needs Assessor
You need to get in touch with a Needs Assessor in your area. They will:
- assess your residential care needs
- give you an application form.
For contact details of a Needs Assessor in your area, call the health Seniorline on 0800 725 463
Step 2 - Fill out the application form
The 'Residential Care Loan application' is in the form the Needs Assessor gave you. You need to complete the entire form.
First, we'll check your assets to see how much they're worth. If they're worth less than $273,628, you may qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy instead of a loan.
It can take 6-8 weeks to process your application. You may need to pay for the full cost of your residential care while we process it. It's best to talk with your care provider about this.
You need to pay for any costs that come with the loan application, e.g., registration of the caveat. These costs are not covered by the loan.
If we approve your loan
We'll send a loan agreement to your solicitor. You, or your power of attorney, need to sign the agreement and send it back to us. You also need to send us confirmation that:
- the rates for your home are paid up to date
- your home is insured.
Then we'll lodge a caveat over your home. This will remain in place until the loan is repaid.
The Ministry of Health will pay the loan directly to the rest home. They will start the payments when all documentation is complete.
One of the criteria to get a Residential Care Loan is if your home and other assets are worth more than $273,628.
Once your loan balance reduces your assets to less than $273,628, you may qualify for a Residential Care Subsidy instead.
How to transfer to a Residential Care Subsidy
The Ministry of Health will send you loan statements every 4 months. They'll let you know when you may be able to get a Residential Care Subsidy.
You'll need to fill out a 'Financial means assessment' form so your assets can be reviewed. To get one of these forms, contact our Residential Subsidy Unit on 0800 999 727.
If a Residential Care Subsidy is approved
If a Residential Care Subsidy is approved, the Residential Care Loan will stop. We'll let you know the outstanding balance.
The loan needs to be repaid within 12 months of when you pass away or when your home is sold, whichever happens first.
If there's a late repayment, interest may be charged at 10% a year, calculated on a daily basis.
Selling your home
Once your home is sold, we'll confirm the amount that needs to be repaid. It could be less than what we told you to start with. This is because we will deduct certain fees, eg:
- real estate agency fees
- solicitor fees
- protected equity
- funeral allowance.
Can't repay within 12 months
There may be some situations where you can't repay the loan within 12 months. In these cases, you may be able to defer the loan instead.
Call the Residential Subsidy Unit on 0800 999 727