care at home in Wales: Care Sourcer

You may qualify for full or partial funding towards the cost of a care home from your Local Authority, depending on your location in the UK, income, capital and savings.

Care homes may offer a combination of:

  • accommodation (sometimes called the hotel cost, this can apply to a residential care home or a nursing care home)
  • personal care in a residential care home (24/7 support is provided by qualified care assistants who support you in washing, dressing, dining and socialising)
  • nursing care in a nursing care home (24/7 support in the same key areas is overseen by registered nurses, and is designed for people with specific medical requirements).

The availability of Local Authority funding for care home costs depends on three different criteria: 

  • Your financial status
  • Whether you own a property that you may be prepared to sell or rent out
  • The part of the UK you live in (England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales)

 

Is Local Authority funding available for a care home?

You may qualify for full or partial funding towards the cost of a care home from your Local Authority, depending on your location in the UK, income, capital and savings.

There are also sometimes differences depending on whether you need personal care (for example washing, dressing, getting in and out of bed, meal preparation etc) which is provided by a trained carer, or nursing care, which is provided either by or under the supervision of qualified nurses.

England

If you live in England, you should qualify for full funding towards care home costs if you own less than £14,250 in savings and assets.

If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, you’ll need to contribute £1 for every £250 of your savings between that amount, on a weekly basis, towards your care home expenses. You’ll also be required to contribute the majority of your income, excluding your personal expenses allowance, towards your care home fees.

If you have assets exceeding £27,250, you’ll need to finance the accommodation costs on your own, or with the help of family or friends. See more about paying for the full cost of care (‘self funding’).

Scotland

If a care needs assessment reveals that you do require personal care, and if you’re aged 65 or over, then you may qualify to receive £174 per week to cover personal care costs.
However, the assessment must stipulate that your personal care needs can only be managed within a care home setting.

The local council may also fund £78 per week for nursing care, if you are found to have an assessed need for nursing care, specifically within a nursing care home. There is no minimum age required in order to access nursing care funding. If you qualify for both of these sources of funding, that’s £249 per week.

Deferring care home fee payments in Scotland

Is the value of your capital less than £17,000? If so, you may also be eligible for a council Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA), which allows you to defer care home payment fees until the property is sold, or until 56 days after your death.

With a DPA in place, you will not be charged interest. Moreover, a DPA may allow you to rent out your home to help cover care home costs.

You should seek professional legal and financial advice before entering into such an agreement.

Northern Ireland

If you have more than £23,250 in capital then you’ll be expected to self-fund the entire cost of your care in a residential or nursing care home in Northern Ireland. But even if you have less than £23,250 in capital, you may still be expected to make a contribution to your care home fees.

A local Health and Social Care Trust decides the amount of money you should contribute to your care home fees. So, if you have between £14,250 and £23,250, you will be regarded as having £1 of income, per week, per £250 of savings. Your required contribution will be based on this.
If you have £14,250 or less, the trust will ignore your capital.

Home ownership counts as capital once you have lived in a care home for 12 weeks. A property may be excluded if a family member continues to reside there, for example.

Wales

Generally speaking, if you have savings or assets worth £40,000 or more, you’ll be expected to self-fund the full amount of your residential care home costs in Wales.

However, you may qualify for care home funding in Wales, even if your capital value exceeds the threshold. NHS continuing healthcare, also known as fully funded care, can be provided free of charge in a care home. People who are eligible for NHS continuing healthcare will be assessed as having “complex, intense or unpredictable health needs in a number of areas”, according to Age UK. In this case, if you are assessed as needing health-based care, you would be entitled to free healthcare in a care home setting. Your social care would be means-tested.

If you move into a nursing home, the NHS will cover the cost of care provided by a registered nurse. Paid weekly, this NHS-funded nursing contribution is offered to residents of nursing care homes in Wales.

 

Top-up fees for care homes

Throughout the UK, if you prefer a care home with costs that exceed the payments made by your local authority, you, and friend or a relative can make top-up payments, allowing you to select your own preferred provider. 

How do you arrange care home funding?

Wherever you live in the UK, to find out whether you qualify for funding for care, you should first arrange a care needs assessment through your local authority (which may be called a local council or trust, depending on where you live).

The needs assessment will evaluate your day-to-day support requirements. Using input from a team of medical professionals, the assessment is designed to reveal whether your needs should be supported within a 24/7 care home environment, or whether you can continue to live at home.

If the care needs assessment recommends that care is needed, a further financial assessment will be arranged to see if the local authority will pay towards the care.

Summary

Are care homes free in the UK?

Unfortunately staying at a care home in the UK is not free, however depending on your specific situation there is funding available to help support the costs. It is recommended to seek financial support to discuss the options available to you.

Do I qualify for funding towards a care home?

You may qualify for full or partial funding towards the cost of a care home from your Local Authority, depending on your location in the UK, income, capital and savings.

There are also sometimes differences depending on whether you need personal care (for example washing, dressing, getting in and out of bed, meal preparation etc) which is provided by a trained carer, or nursing care, which is provided either by or under the supervision of qualified nurses.

How can I claim local authority funding towards a care home?

To check what funding you qualify for, you need to contact your local authority for a care needs assessment. Once a care plan has been agreed, the local authority will then arrange a financial assessment to determine if you qualify for funding.

What if the care I want is more expensive than the funding available?

If you prefer a care home with costs that exceed the payments made by your local authority, you or a relative can make top-up payments, allowing you to select your own preferred provider.

Do you have to sell your house to pay care home fees?

Depending on your financial position you may need to sell your home to pay care home fees. However, there are circumstances where your house would not be included in the financial assessment, so it is recommended to always seek financial advice.

How much do residential care homes and nursing homes in the UK cost?

The average cost for a care home in the UK is £617 a week for residential care and £844 a week for nursing care (Laing Buisson, 2018). 

Questions about funding care?

Care Sourcer’s friendly care experts are on hand to provide guidance on typical care costs, help you explore your funding and benefit options, or even negotiate care fees on your behalf.

Call us on freephone: 0800 098 8299 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm)

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