Funding Care Costs

Local authorities oversee most elements of social care. If your friend or relative meets certain eligibility criteria then the council have an obligation to pay for some or all of their care. This includes if they need paid carers to help look after them in their own home, or if they need a more substantial level of care, such as in a care home. 

How do I know if we are eligible for financial help?

Whether your friend or relative is entitled to any support will depend on how much money they have in savings and assets. They will only be eligible for some help if they have less than £23,250 in total. 

One exception to this means testing is if your friend or relative’s needs are primarily health-based, such as needing care after being discharged from hospital. This is then arranged and paid for by the NHS under what is known as NHS continuing healthcare (NHS CHC). It is free for everyone. 

A further exception is if they need small pieces of equipment or minor home adaptations, costing under £1,000 each. The council must provide these to everyone who needs them for free, regardless of their financial situation.  

What will they fund?

This depends on the savings the person you care for has.  

If they have less than £14,250 in total, they will be entitled to the maximum funding available. If they have between £14,250 and £23,250 then they will be entitled to some funding, but not the maximum. If they have more than £23,250, they will not be entitled to any financial support from their local council until their savings drop below this threshold. In this situation, they will be expected to cover the costs of their care themselves – this is known as ‘self-funding’. 

Even if your friend or relative is entitled to the maximum funding available from the council, this may still not cover all the costs of their care. In these circumstances, they will still be expected to cover some of it themselves or through support from others. 

Will we have to sell our home to pay for care?

This depends on a number of factors. If they are able to stay in their own home and be cared for there by paid carers, then the council will not count the value of their house in the financial assessment. 

However, if they require more involved care and need to permanently move to a care home for this, then the council will include the value of their house (or their share of the house if they only own part of it) in the assessment. This may mean they will end up needing to sell the property to pay for their care. 

One exception to this is if certain people still live in the house, namely: 

  • Their husband, wife, partner or civil partner. 
  • A close relative who is aged over 60. 
  • A close relative who is incapacitated. 
  • A close relative under the age of 16 who they are legally liable to support. 
  • Their ex-husband, ex-wife, ex-civil partner or ex-partner if they are a single parent. 

If any of these people still live in the house, the council will not count the value of it in the financial assessment. 

There may also be other circumstances where the council decides not to include the value of their house in their calculation, for example if you as their carer live in the house after having given up your own home to care for them. 

If the council do include the value of the property in the calculation, it does not necessarily mean that your friend or relative will have to sell their house immediately to pay for their care. They could instead ask to create a deferred payment agreement with the council. This means that they will not be paying for their care costs immediately, but instead effectively borrowing the funds from the council with this loan being repaid when the house is sold. 

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