Paying for residential and nursing care

I'm self funding

If you are paying the costs of your care and support yourself see paying for your care and support (self funding) for further information.

Can I get council funding?

If you think you may need residential or nursing care even on a short-term basis (respite care) and want to see if the council can pay anything towards your care you will need to have a social care assessment and a financial assessment.

We can then tell you how the council will work out what you need to pay, and how it will affect your income, savings and property.

If you have savings over £23,250, the council will not be able to contribute financially towards your care and you will need pay for this yourself.

Financial assessment

If a social worker has assessed and agreed your need for residential or nursing care and you need help to pay for this, we will assess your finances and charge you based on your own income, benefits and savings. Your social worker will also assess the level of residential support you require in line with the following categories: Baseline, Standard, High or Specialist.

We will then make a contract to pay the home which will show your charge, the council’s contribution and the contribution of anyone else who is helping to pay for your care. This applies to both temporary (respite) care and permanent periods of care.

Adult social care maximum

This is the amount we will pay towards providing a place in a residential or nursing care home, based on your care needs:

Residential home - weekly rates for financial year 2017/18
Level of care you needAmount we will pay each week
Baseline £370
Standard £411
High £479
Specialist £521

If you need care in a nursing home, we will only pay for your residential care costs. The local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will pay for the nursing part of your care.

When you go into the nursing home, staff will assess your nursing care needs and this will determine how much needs to be paid.

The table below shows the weekly amounts the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will pay under NHS-funded nursing care.

Nursing care - weekly rates for financial year 2017/18
Level of care you needAmount the CCG will pay each week
Single band £155.05
High band £213.32

The CCG will pay their contribution straight to the nursing home.

In some cases the NHS may arrange and pay for all of your nursing home costs, and this will be where your primary need is a Continuing Health Care (CHC) need, rather than personal or social support.

Decisions about who is eligible for funding under continuing health care are made by the CCG not the council. If you think you might be eligible for continuing health care funding ask the person who carries out your social care assessment.

What if the home costs more than the assessed standard amount?

If you choose to go into a home which is more expensive than the council’s assessment shows you need, or is more expensive than the standard amount we will pay, then someone must pay the difference. This is known as a ‘top-up fee’, and should be paid by a third party and is payable in addition to the charge we assessed that you would have to pay for your care. You can pay this yourself if you own your own property and your property is taken into account as part of your financial assessment and you have a Deferred Payment Agreement.   

Where a top-up is required from you or a third party, you (or they) will need to demonstrate that you (or they) are willing and able to maintain this payment after the council’s rate has been deducted.

For example, the council’s rate for care may be £411 per week and the cost of the care home chosen £500 per week. In these circumstances a 'top-up' of £89.00 per week will be charged in addition to your normal weekly assessed charge.

You may only 'top-up' from your own resources if you have made a deferred payment arrangement with the council for your house or are subject to the 12 weeks property disregard and have capital or other income to pay this fee in the first 12 weeks. This would still be at the discretion of the council.

It is important to note that all care homes raise their charges annually and this may mean the top-up fee also increases.

  • If you go into a home which is more expensive than the council would normally pay and fail to keep up the top-up payments, this may result in you having to move to other accommodation
  • If you go into a residential home and agree to pay the top-up fee, you will need to consider how you will meet these extra costs. Your benefits and other income will be subject to a financial assessment to pay towards your care charges funded by the council
  • If there is a rise in the fees charged by the home, any increases may not be shared equally between the council and you or a third party making a top-up payment.

Therefore, a top up of £25 per week may not sound too much now, but in a few years time this may well have increased considerably.

You should ensure you discuss this point with the home and the person who carries out your care assessment before any move takes place.

You can pay the home directly or you can pay the council and we will pay the home. You can discuss this with your social worker.

How will my savings be included in my charge for care?

If you have savings which you hold jointly with your partner, we will assume you have equal shares.

If you have:

  • Over £23,250 - You will have to pay the full cost of your residential or nursing care until your savings fall below this amount. Once your savings approach £23,250 you need to contact us to arrange for an assessment of your needs and charges
  • Between £14,250 and £23,250 - You will have to pay £1 a week for every £250 or part of £250 of your savings as part of your charge
  • Under £14,250 - We will ignore your savings when we are assessing your charge.

Property

This is an area which causes a great deal of uncertainty. If you need help, please contact the Financial Assessment Team on 01942 489565, 489458 or 489459 or for further information regarding independent financial and legal advice, see our managing your money page.

We will ignore the value of a property you normally occupy as your home if your stay in a residential or nursing home is temporary and:

  • You intend to return to that property and the property is still available to you; or
  • You are taking reasonable steps to dispose of the property in order to acquire another more suitable property for you to return to.

Only one property can be disregarded in these circumstances.

If you need permanent residential care you may be charged the full cost of your care from the thirteenth week of your stay.

12 week disregard

We can ignore the value of your property for up to 12 weeks if you went into permanent care after April 2001.

The value of your property may also be ignored if one of the following people remains living in the property after the initial 12 week disregard:

  • Your partner
  • A disabled relative
  • A relative over the age of 60
  • A carer who moved in to take care of you and has given up their own home.

This is not a full list of exemptions and you should get advice from the Residential Team if you are concerned that this may affect you or your family/carer.

  • See the deferred payment scheme if you want to put off selling your home during your lifetime if you are in permanent care

Disposing of assets

If you have given away or transferred a capital asset (property, savings and so on) in order to reduce your charge for residential care, we can treat you as still having the asset and charge you accordingly. We look at each case individually, and there is no time limit on disposing of assets.

Income

In general, all income counts towards the cost of your residential care, but you will always be left with at least £24.90 a week to spend as you like.

Couples

  • Permanent care - If you or your partner are living in a residential or nursing home, you are treated as single people for charging and benefit purposes
  • Temporary (respite) care - If you are in residential or nursing care, but your partner is not, you will be assessed as a couple in the same way your benefits are assessed. We will then decide how much to charge for your care, taking into account the needs of your partner who is still living at home, and making sure they have enough income to maintain their usual standard of living.

Benefits

If you need residential or nursing care, this may affect the following benefits. It is your responsibility to advise all relevant departments of your change in circumstances.

Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Personal Independence Payment (daily living component)

This will be suspended after you have been in a residential home or hospital for 28 days, unless you are paying for your care yourself.

If you have a property to sell, your Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component) or Personal Independence Payment (daily living component) may start again after you have been in residential care for 12 weeks.

If you do not currently receive these benefits, contact the disability benefits helpline to make a claim, as you may be entitled to this benefit.

Means Tested Benefits (Employment Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit)

These will be made up of any personal allowances or premiums you are entitled to receive and depends on your age and circumstances. They cannot usually be backdated, so make sure you claim before you go into residential care or as soon as possible.

We recommend that you check and confirm your circumstances with the Department for Work and Pensions.

What happens to my wife or husband staying at home?

If you go into residential or nursing care on a permanent basis, your partner may become entitled to extra benefits like Employment and Support Allowance (external link), Universal CreditPension Credit, Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction. You should contact these departments as soon as you know that your circumstances will change.

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