How to Make Sure UK Equity Release Schemes Do Not Affect Your Means Tested Benefits

Firstly, There is no tax to pay on the money released from your home, provided it is your main residential property.

Releasing capital from your home that takes your savings over £10,000 can affect your means tested benefits if your income is less than the minimum the state says you need to live on. Therefore you should ensure that the balance of any equity release money left over after spending cash on immediate needs does not take you over the ten thousand pound threshold. At least not for a long period, as money entering and leaving your account very quickly is unlikely to alter the situation.

Non means tested benefits such as disability benefit and attendance allowance are totally unaffected by the extra money created from your equity release, but invalidity grants for home adaptations could be influenced, even if your savings are less than ten thousand pounds. In this context if you are seeking such grants, you should first establish your position with the local authority before entering into an equity release scheme and definitely before instructing any work to commence.

Pension Credit is a means tested benefit that could be reduced or even extinguished by equity release money arriving into your account. Pension credit payments are added to your income if you are over aged 60. This is to top up low level earnings or the state pension so that you have the minimum weekly income that the state says you need to live on. After 5th April 2010 this is £132.60 for a single person and £202.40 for a couple. If your savings exceed £10,000, every £500 over this amount can reduce your weekly pension credit by one pound.

If your circumstances change during the five year period from when you were assessed for pension credit you do not need to notify the Department of Works and Pensions. People over aged 75 at the time their pension credit decision was made do not have a time limit.

National Health Service benefits are available for persons that are claiming Pension Credit. These include free prescriptions, dental treatment, free eyesight tests, vouchers for spectacles and even reasonable transport costs for health treatment.

Council Tax benefits are available for people on low incomes that may be claiming pension credit. The amount of council tax benefit reduces proportionately as the level of savings increases from £10,000 to £16,000.

The best way to ensure that your means tested benefits are not affected by equity release is to consult an independent equity release adviser at the equity release schemes website who can provide you with an indication of the level of any benefits that may be reduced. Some advisers have access to computer software that can assess the effects of equity release schemes on state benefits.

As a general rule, make sure that the amount of equity you have released does not take your savings over the £10,000 threshold after you have spent money on essential items.

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New Equity Release Lender More2Life Launches New Products

Signs that the equity release market is beginning to spark into life again, can be evidenced by the re-emergence of a former lender in the market.

More2Life have joined forces with annuity specialist Partnership assurance to re-launch their impaired life roll-up lifetime mortgage plan.

Incorporating an impaired life facility & protected equity guarantee, the More2Life equity release plan can be seen to be opening a niche market for itself. The impaired life facility means that depending on health & lifestyle, a higher than normal tax free lump sum can be achieved, should serious health issues be present.

The More2Life equity release plan has been designed with three scenario’s in mind: -

1. Enhanced plus – industry leading maximum release, impaired life product

2. Enhanced protected – impaired life plan with ‘protected equity guarantee’

3. Protected plan – older applicants looking for a ‘protected equity guarantee’

Pitching the enhanced plus plan at the maximum release end of the market means that should the applicant qualify on medical grounds, they would have the highest lump sum currently available. This would even surpass the current Aviva Lump Sum Max product, although this would be at the expense of a higher interest rate with More2Life.

The following percentages are the maximum releases available on the Enhanced Plus: -

Age 55 23%

Age 60 28%

Age 65 33%

Age 70 38%

Age 80 48%

Age 90+ 54%

For example, an applicant aged 65 with a property valuation of £250,000 & meeting the underwriting criteria, can release a maximum of £82,500 on the enhanced plus plan.

The interest rate for this product will be 7.49% monthly.

The second product – ‘enhanced protected plan’ is also based on health & lifestyle grounds & again can provide an enhanced lump sum. However, to qualify for this equity release scheme the health situation will not be a serious as the enhanced plus. The interest rate for this plan is lower at 6.99% monthly.

Another feature of this plan is the ‘protected equity guarantee’ which is included & guarantees a percentage of the property for the children/beneficiaries on the eventual sale of the property.

The guarantee works as follows: -

Should the overall facility available be £80,000, yet only £40,000 is taken, then 50% of the final sale value will be protected on sale.

This can be an essential tool for applicants who wish to ensure that a guaranteed inheritance is passed onto their children.

The final option is the ‘protected plan’ which has no impaired life facility, but does include the protected equity guarantee. The interest rate is the same as the enhanced protected at 6.99% monthly.

In summary, depending on whether the maximum lump sum is being sourced, or one is looking to take equity release but still guaranteeing an inheritance for their children, then one of the three More2Life schemes can benefit.

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Aiming at Health Equity Through Public Health

Health Equity or healthcare disparity is required to be diminished in order to imbibe a social institution, a discipline or a practice that improves healthcare for all. Aiming at this wellbeing is very essential especially effective through the route of Public Health. Let’s have a look at how this concept works in building up Health Equity.

Health services tend to fail due to lack of accountability. Health equity refers to the differences in quality of health and healthcare. There currently exist vast discrepancies between developed and developing countries in relation to public health. Ultimately, collaboration is what can reduce healthcare disparities. Focusing on prioritizing healthcare needs and their respective consequences and economic impact is majorly considered.

Public health aims at improving the health of communities. Public Health Solutions specialize in improving the health of all the health management information related communities, groups, organizations to address the various challenges for a better tomorrow. What differentiates this concept from various concepts is the fact that it emphasizes on communities rather than individuals or primary care physician. Healthcare professionals generally deal with just individual health. Here, all the efforts adds on improved quality of life with higher expectancy, world-wide reduction in infant and child mortality, keeping environment safe and clean, preventing many transmissible diseases and promoting good health practices.

For the delivery of better patient care there has been more focus on the computerization of hospitals. There have been efforts in making institutional care happen. Healthcare delivery too is one of the most crucial aspects. Although there is improvement in the managerial efficiency it is indeed required to account if the services reach the beneficiaries (poor) as well. Health Equity would be well managed through system management process leading to an outcome of spirited community.

Currently it is just treated as a nationwide concept and has not been given much of an essence since major focus has been always diverted to immunizations and curative care. What’s required to do through Public Health is evaluate and monitor health, diagnose and investigate, empower and educate the community on healthcare, develop policies or enforce laws to finally assure that care is well provided. The key is to make available all relevant information on healthcare community. Communities should participate in decision makings and taking up responsibilities respectively. The goals of preventing diseases and emphasizing on health needs would highly be achieved through Public Health for the benefit of the population as a whole.

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