Paying for care in your own home

The cost of receiving personal care at home will depend on the amount of support you require.

Home care providers will typically charge hourly for their services and you can arrange for them to come multiple times every day, to help meet your needs.

This guide explores the costs involved with care at home and identifies the sources of financial support that may be available from your local authority or the NHS. It also explore the financial products that you may be able to purchase to cover your costs.

Assessing your care and support needs

Before exploring how to pay for your care, it is important to understand what care it is that you require. If you are unsure of your needs then you may wish to request an assessment from the Adult Social Care department of your local authority, this must be provided free of charge. Your social worker will work with you to recommend a package of care that will meet your needs, this may be a combination of home adaptations, carer visits and other local services such as meal delivery or transport.

Am I eligible for help with the cost of my home care?

The simple rule here is that if you have more than £23,250 in savings then you are likely to have to meet the cost of care yourself. Note that this money does not include the value of any property that you live in and joint accounts are treated as 50/50 when assessing your finances.

This figure is £50,000 in Wales and £28,000 in Scotland.

The exception to this rule is if you have complex health needs that require frequent medical intervention, to the point where you are deemed to have a ‘primary health need’, in which case the NHS may meet your care costs through Continuing Healthcare Funding. If you feel that this may describe your circumstances, contact your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for further information.

What help is available to self-funders?

If you have more than £23,250 of your own savings then you are likely to be classed as a ‘self-funder’. The first thing you may wish to do is check that you are receiving all the State Benefits that are available to you. Attendance Allowance is a non means-tested benefit for people over 65 who are in need of supervision or support – regardless of whether or not they receive any assistance.

Another option is to seek Independent Financial Advice to explore any products that may be available to help you meet the cost of your care. Immediate Need Care Fee Payment Plans, commonly referred to as Care Annuities, can provide you with a regular income to use on care in exchange for a lump sum payment. The Society for Later Life Advisors (SOLLA) can help you find IFAs in your area that specialise in this area, read more on their website.

What will my council pay towards my care?

If you have less than £23,250 then it is likely your local authority will contribute towards the cost of your home care services. The exact amount will depend on your income and any savings you have between £14,250 and £23,250. The council have to ensure you are left with at least £189 per week (£144.30 if you are a member of a couple), plus additional amounts for liabilities such as rent or mortgage payments. You are usually expected to contribute any income above this figure towards the cost of your care.

Following an assessment of your care needs the council will calculate the cost to provide the services you have been assessed as needing. The council will then deduct your contribution to this total figure, leaving their contribution, known as your ‘personal budget’. You can choose to either take this as a ‘direct payment’ meaning you, or a family member, arrange your care services, or you can request the council take responsibility for providing care services to you.