Paying for Residential Care
If your care needs assessment has identified that a care home or nursing home (residential care) is the best way to meet your needs, you may be required to contribute (in part or in full) to the cost of the placement
If you have care and support needs that can only be met in a care home, you will need to pay towards the care home fees. The amount you pay depends on:
If you receive a chargeable service – this will be confirmed by your social worker at the point your care is initially arranged. If your service is chargeable you will be asked if you wish to be financially assessed to determine how much you need to contribute towards the cost of your care. If you have more than £23,250 (the upper capital limit) in savings or if you do not wish to complete a financial assessment then you will have to pay the actual cost of the service you receive.
The outcome of the financial assessment – this is a means tested assessment which looks at the level of your income, capital and certain types of expenditure. Capital includes any savings, investments or property you own and the value of your share of any jointly held assets. Your contribution towards the cost of your care package is determined by the outcome of a financial assessment. If you choose not to have a financial assessment or you do not provide all the information that is required as part of the financial assessment, you will need to pay the full cost of your care home placement.
Property – if you own or part own a property, there are rules around whether the value of the property is taken into account in the financial assessment. For example, if your spouse, a relative over the age of 60 or a disabled relative still lives in the property, the property is ignored for as long as they continue to live there. The property is also ignored during the first 12 weeks of the residential placement.
If your property has to be taken into account you may be eligible for a Deferred Payment Agreement, which allows you to use the value of your home to secure an agreement with the Council to pay for your long-term residential care placement. It means that, although you are responsible for the maximum charge of your residential or nursing home fees, you only have to pay a contribution based on your level of income and savings until such time as your house is sold. In order to be considered for a Deferred Payment Agreement your total savings must be less than £23,250 and you must own your home. You will also need to have the mental capacity to enter into a Deferred Payment Agreement, or have someone legally appointed to deal with your finances who can enter into the agreement on your behalf.
Care home top-up fees
If the Council is funding your care home placement, an amount of money will be allocated to meet your needs - this is known as a Personal Budget.
The Council must offer at least one suitable placement within the Personal Budget; if it cannot then the Personal Budget will be increased.
However, if the Council can offer a suitable placement within budget but you choose another care home that is more expensive than the allocated amount, the Council will not fund this additional amount, which is known as a ‘top-up’ fee.
You can still enter the more expensive placement so long as a third party (e.g. family member) is willing and able to meet the additional cost (the ‘top-up’ fee). In certain circumstances the person in need of care and support can pay the top-up fee themselves.
For more information, please see the residential care charging guidance.