Care fees & funding

Finding a care home for yourself or an older loved one, and organising the move into full-time residential care, can be an emotional process. Understanding how care is funded and what costs are involved will help you to navigate the process more quickly and easily.

Unlike healthcare delivered in the NHS, the care of older people in the UK is not free to everyone. The funding support that you are entitled to will depend on your financial circumstances as well as where you live in the UK.

At Caring Homes we want to help you feel confident about your choices, so we’ve created a helpful guide which explains how the funding process works and answers some of the questions you may have.

Download A Guide To Funding The Cost Of Care

How much does care cost?

The cost of care can vary a great deal and depends on such factors as the type of support you need and the location of your care home.

What influences the cost of care?

  • Whether you are receiving permanent or temporary care
  • Whether the home is run by the local authority or an independent provider
  • Your county or region, for example, the personal care you receive in a care home in Scotland is free if you’re over 65
  • Individual care home fees

How do you organise funding?

The first step is for your local authority to assess your care needs. They will create a report about your needs and the type of care that would best suit you. To learn more about the different types of funding please download our care fee guide.

What are you entitled to?

To work out whether you qualify for state funding and how much you may be entitled to, the local authority financial assessment, or means test, will look at:

Your regular income, including:

  • Pensions
  • Benefits
  • Earnings

Your capital, including:

  • Cash savings
  • Investments
  • Business assets
  • Land
  • Property (your home will not be included if your partner still lives there).

How will your income and capital affect the funding you receive?

The amount of capital you have:

  • Less than £14,250 – Your capital is disregarded and you will
    be entitled to the maximum support
  • Between £14,250 and £23,250 – You are entitled to some financial help
    but will be expected to pay £1 per week
    for every £250 or part of £250 you have
    over £14,250.
  • More than £23,250 – You will be expected to pay for all
    of your care yourself, known as self-funding.

Capital limits vary from region to region

Contact the social services department of your local authority to find out whether you’re eligible for funding. If you have savings and assets of more than the amounts shown below, you’ll have to pay for your own care:

Region Savings threshold for local authority funding in 2019/20
England £23,250
Wales £24,000 (care at home) or £50,000 (care in a care home)
Scotland £27,250
Northern Ireland £23,250

Your questions answered

If you have a partner who still lives in your home, then your home won’t be included in the means test. However, if you live alone in the property, it will be considered as part of your total capital assets. This is likely to put you over the threshold for support.

While many people who move into full-time residential care do sell their homes, it’s important to consider all the options (for example, renting out your home) and to speak to an independent financial advisor.

Your local authority will only look at your income (including pensions and savings). They will not consider the income of members of your family.

Benefits and credits are disregarded, such as the State Pension and Attendance Allowance. Disability Living Allowance is also disregarded, as are War Widows’ special payments. The value of any personal possessions is excluded as long as they were not bought with the intention of avoiding residential care charges.

If you have jointly held capital, you and the other joint owners are treated as having equal interests. There is an exception for jointly owned property, which is calculated in terms of the present sale value as the part you own could be sold with the proceeds going to you. If you have a joint bank or building society account with your partner, you will be assessed as having half of the balance of the account.

Some people deliberately give away assets or income to put themselves in a better position to obtain local authority help with care fees. However, if the assessor believes there has been deliberate deprivation of assets, they may still factor the assets into the assessment.

If you are funding your own full-time residential care and your capital is falling towards the upper capital limit, ask your local authority for an assessment of your care needs as you may be eligible for funding. This can take some time to arrange, so be sure to discuss it with your care home and the local authority well in advance of your capital falling below the upper limit.

If you would like to know more about care homes and funding full-time residential care for yourself or a relative we’re here to help. Please call our friendly Caring Homes team on 0808 1599805

For more information on useful contacts download our funding guide.

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