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Advice on care home fees

Residential Care Fees

Residential care in a care home is expensive, but there may be some help available to meet the cost - however the care system and how it is funded is complex.  You may be eligible for help with your care fees from your local authority (council) or, in some circumstances, from the NHS. Care fees are rarely free, how much you must pay yourself depends on your financial means and personal circumstances.
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Local authority funding

If you need residential care, the local authority may have a duty to arrange it, once it has assessed your needs. They will carry out a care needs assessment. If this finds that you need care in a care home, they will then carry out a financial assessment, this is a means test to see if you qualify for help with the fees
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NHS Funding

If your needs are primarily health-based, the NHS arrange and pay for care under the NHS continuing healthcare scheme (NHS CHC).

When assessing your needs, the local council must refer you to the NHS if it appears you may be eligible for NHS CHC.

If you do not meet the criteria for NHS CHS, but require nursing care, the NHS will pay a contribution towards the cost of the nursing care directly to the nursing home. This is called NHS-funded nursing care (NHS FNC).

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Will the local authority pay for care home fees?

    If you need residential care, the local authority may have a duty to arrange it once it has assessed your needs.  They will carry out a care needs assessment.  If this finds that you need care in a care home, they will then carry out a financial assessment, this is a means test to see if you qualify for help with the fees.  It is likely that you will have to pay something towards residential care home fees from your own income and capital.  If you are eligible for support with funding your care fees, the local council could pay for some or most of these fees.  

    If you have more than £23,250 in capital assets the local authority do not contribute towards your fees.  You will need to pay full care home fees (self-fund) until your capital reduces to the upper capital limit of £23,250.  It is a good idea to contact the local authority a few months in advance of this happening, so they can carry out a financial assessment in good time.

    If you have capital between £14,250 and £23,250 this is assessed as if you have an assumed income (or ‘tariff’).  For every £250 or part of £250 above £14,250 you are treated as if you have an extra £1 per week income.

  • How much will you have to pay?

    If you are eligible for support with funding your care home placement, your local authority must calculate the overall cost of your care.  Then, using a means test, they will calculate how much you have to contribute to the overall cost of your care.    The cost figure that the local authority calculates is called the ‘personal budget’.  This must be sufficient to meet all your eligible needs.  The personal budget must be high enough to meet the cost of at least one suitable care home.  The local authority will pay the difference between the personal budget figure and the amount that it has assessed you as being able to pay.  

    You will also be expected to pay towards the cost of your care from your income, for example pensions, however you must be left with a Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA), which must be at least £25.65 per week.  The local authority does have the discretion to increase this amount, depending on your circumstances.

  • How do I get home care?

    If you are having trouble with everyday tasks such as washing, cooking or getting dressed, ask your local authority for a care needs assessment.  This works out what would help you to stay independent at home for longer.  Your carer, relative, GP or district nurse can refer you for an assessment on your behalf.

    If you are being discharged from hospital, the staff on your ward can arrange homecare services to ensure you are safe and properly supported at home, or to help rehabilitate you.  This is often overseen by a social worker.

  • Will the local authority pay for my home care?

    If the local authority carry out a care needs assessment and agree that you are eligible for care and support at home, they will do a means test which will take into account your income and savings.  

  • How much does homecare cost?

    If you are paying the fees yourself (self-funding), then you will arrange and pay for your own care, but the local authority should provide advice to support you.

    Costs for homecare vary from area to area, but average around £15 per hour.

  • Can I get financial help to pay for my home care?

    You may be entitled to benefits such as Attendance Allowance (AA).  This is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need extra financial help to stay independent at home due to illness or disability.

    If you are under State Pension age, you may be eligible for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) instead.

    If you have a carer, you could be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.

    These three benefits are not means tested, so will not take into account your income or capital savings.

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Taunton
Associate Solicitor
Minehead
Senior Chartered Legal Executive

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