Figuring out how to pay for care at home or home help services?
If you live in England, getting value for money can be a key benefit of arranging care at home (also known as in-home care, homecare or domiciliary care).
Charged on an hourly basis, in-home care in England tends to be more affordable than living in a care home.
Your uniquely tailored care package may include care from one or both of these categories:
- personal care: qualified care assistants provide support with washing, dressing, dining and socialising
- nursing care: registered nurses provide support in the same areas, as well as with specialist medical requirements
There’s no universal pricing structure for care at home across England, each local authority sets its own local funding rates to support eligible care seekers.
(If you’re not looking for home help services in England, we’ve also prepared a guide to help you navigate in home care costs in Scotland.)
How much is care at home in England?
So, how much does it cost to employ care at home in England?
The recommended hourly rate for care at home is £17, according to the NHS, but this varies by location. (See note 1.)
Live-in home care can start from around £650 per week. For more complex needs, that charge could reach approximately £1,600 per week.
Recommended homecare pricing can be useful, but does it reflect reality?
Across the country, average reported figures are actually lower than the recommended fees. On average, in-home care tends to cost around £15 per hour, according to the Money Advice Service. (See note 2.)
Based on a 14-hour week, that works out at nearly £11,000 per year. The average cost of full-time care during the day, meanwhile, can cost from around £30,000 per year.
But what if you require 24/7 care at home? Round-the-clock care can easily exceed £150,000 per year, on average. If that’s the case, you may decide that residential care is more cost-effective.
That being the case, you may still be able to pay less for a live-in carer. Some introductory agencies, who connect you with self-employed carers, can cost significantly less.
Are you comparing the cost of in-home care with the cost of a care home? We can help — click here to learn more about care home fees in England.
When considering how to pay for care at home, you should check if you qualify for funding. This starts by arranging a care needs assessment through your local authority. The assessment evaluates your daily support requirements. It’s designed to reveal whether your needs can be accommodated at home.
Don’t forget: you must do the assessment prior to agreeing any at-home care contracts. If you don’t, and proceed to arrange care, you may lose out on local authority funding.
Once an at-home care plan has been agreed, the local authority will then arrange a means-testing assessment to determine if you qualify for funding. When applying for in-home care funding, the means test excludes your home’s value. (See note 3.) This differs from the means assessment used for residential care homes: in this case, home value is considered.
According to Which? Elderly Care, residents of England should qualify for full support if they own less than £14,250 in savings and assets. (See note 4.)
However, if you receive full funding, you’ll be expected to contribute the majority of your income (including benefits) to the local authority. Your personal expenses allowance is excluded.
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 expenses. You’ll also be required to contribute the majority of your income, excluding your personal expenses allowance.
If you have capital of more than £23,250, you’ll be required to use this to pay the entire cost of your care at home. Equally, if you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income considered high enough to cover the cost of your domiciliary care, you’ll be responsible for paying the full cost.
Accessing free care and support for in-home care in England
Regardless of your income, you may be entitled to some free care and support. (See note 5.). For example, you could qualify for:
- Attendance Allowance or other benefits
- Specialist equipment or home adaptations costing less than £1,000
- NHS care in the form of: continuing healthcare, nursing care, or post-discharge care
If you’ve reached the stage where you’re considering how to pay for care at home, you may also be benefit from advice on how to broach the subject of care. From helping arrange funding, to helping your loved one prepare for the transition, each stage of the care journey can be made a bit easier thanks to your support and compassion.
Last updated 18 May 2018