Paying for residential care in a care home is expensive. There is some help available to meet the cost, but the care system can be complicated and difficult to find your way through.
You may be eligible for financial help from your local council or, in some circumstances, from the NHS.
Will the local council pay for my care home fees?
If you are eligible for funding support, your local council could pay some or most of the fees. The council will carry out a care needs assessment. If this concludes you need care in a care home, they will carry out a means test to work out whether you qualify for help with the cost. This will look at your income and capital.
How much will you have to pay for care?
If you are eligible for funding support, your local council must calculate the overall cost of your care and, using the means test, how much you have to contribute to the overall cost from your financial resources. The council must ensure that the overall cost figure it calculates, called the ‘personal budget’, is high enough to meet the cost of at least one suitable care home.
You will be expected to pay towards the cost from your income included in the financial assessment, for example pensions, however you must be left a Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA). The PEA must be at least £24.90 per week. The council has discretion to increase this amount, depending on your circumstances. See below for more information about the means test.
How could the level of finances affect how much I pay for my care?
If your local council carries out a care needs assessment and finds you need a care home place, they will do a means test to work out how much you must contribute towards the cost of your care. This will take into account your income and capital, e.g savings. Certain types of income, such as money from certain disability benefits, are ignored in the means test. This is the same for certain types of capital. All other income and capital can be taken into account.
The value of your property may be included as capital in means test. However, in certain circumstances, the council cannot include your property in the means test.