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Paying for Care in a Nursing or Residential Home

This information is for people who are thinking of moving into a residential care home or nursing home.

It explains how the City and County of Swansea works out whether you may be able to get help from us towards paying the fees. It covers residential homes run by the City and County of Swansea, and independently run residential and nursing homes, but not nursing care provided by the Health Service. 

There is both national and Welsh government legislation which tells us what we have to take into account when we assess your ability to pay care home fees.

This information is correct from 10th April 2017 until April 2018. 

The basis for charging

Welsh Government legislation tells us what we have to take into account when we assess your ability to pay care home fees.

To ensure that the charges we make are fair, we use a Charging Policy, based on the provisions of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, including:

Moving into a residential or nursing home

Before you make the final decision to move to a residential care home you should ask Social Services for an assessment of your needs. This will help you to be sure that residential care is the right option for you and, if so, that the care home you choose is able to provide a service which meets your individual needs. We recommend that you ask for an assessment, even if you would not be eligible for financial support. There is no charge for this. 

Our factsheet PDF Document Choosing a Residential Care Home which is right for you (Factsheet 012) (PDF, 52KB)Opens new window  gives more information to assist you in choosing a home.

How you can get help with the cost of care

When you ask us for help with the cost of care, we will do a financial assessment. This means working out with you what you will be able to pay yourself toward the cost of care, based on what your income and savings are. We will then provide you with a statement setting out the calculation of the payment that you would be expected to make toward the cost of your care.

The City and County of Swansea can give you help towards the cost of permanent care in a residential or nursing home if:

  • you have £30,000 or less in savings or other assets and
  • we agree that moving into residential or nursing care is the best way of meeting your needs. We decide this when we do a Community Care Assessment.

What we will pay depends on how much money - income and savings - you have. What counts as savings and what counts as income is not always straightforward. There is more information later on this page.

The more money you have, the more we will expect you to pay, and the less we will pay. You will always be expected to pay something towards the cost, but we will never ask you to pay more than you can afford to pay. If you have savings, they won't all be used up paying for care.

Whatever your income, you will not pay all of it in fees: you will be able to keep a Minimum Income Amount of £27.50 a week, for you to spend on whatever you want.

If you don't want to tell us about your income and savings, you can choose not to have a financial assessment, but this will mean that you (or your family) will have to pay the full cost of your care yourself. 

How we calculate your income

We will ask you for details of your income (e.g. benefits, state pension, works pension) and your capital (e.g. bank and building society accounts, shares, National Savings Certificates).

If your capital is less than £30,000, we don't count it at all.

There are some things we don't count as part of your income. The main ones are:

  • Disability Living Allowance Mobility Component
  • War Disablement Pension
  • the first £10 of a War Widow's Pension
  • up to 50% of your works pension, if it will be going to your spouse who is still living at home (except in certain circumstances).

It doesn't make any difference whether you are married or not - we'll just be looking at the money that's in your name, including your share of any money in a joint account.

Once you move in to the care home, we will check the information you give us about your money, and then check it again once a year to see if anything's changed.

A note about your savings

Even if your savings are over £30,000, the regulations may not class them all as capital assets. Certain sorts of assets could be treated as income and not as capital. This could affect the amount you would need to pay towards your care.

Therefore, even if your savings are over £30,000, you may wish to give us details of your assets so that we can assess them appropriately. We can then tell you whether this makes a difference to your financial position.

If you own your home

If you own your home, we may take its value into account from the time you become a permanent resident in the care home. This depends on individual circumstances. For example, if your partner or an elderly or severely disabled relative is still living there, we will ignore the value of the home and you will not be expected to sell it. This might also apply if other members of your family are living there, but we will decide this based on individual circumstances.

On the other hand, if the house is left empty when you move permanently into care, you would be expected, after 12 weeks, to sell it to raise money towards the cost of care.

For the first 12 weeks after you move into residential care on a permanent basis, the value of your home will be ignored when we work out how much you need to contribute towards the costs of your care, provided that  your capital (excluding the value of your home) does not exceed £30,000.  During these 12 weeks the contribution you will be required to make will be assessed only on your income, savings and any other assets you have, and any shortfall will be made up by Social Services.  This is not a loan or a deferred payment, and you will not be expected to repay this money at a later date. If you sell your home during the 12 week period the disregard ceases to have effect from the date of the sale.

However, if the house is left empty when you move permanently into care, you would be expected, after 12 weeks, to sell it to raise money towards the cost of care.

As an alternative to selling your home immediately you can ask to enter into a Deferred Payment Agreement. This means that we cover part of the cost of your care for the time being, but we get paid back when your home gets sold at some time in the future, perhaps after you have died.  In the meantime you could let the house and use the rental income to assist with the care home fees.

There is more information in our factsheet  PDF Document Deferring Payments for Care Home Fees when you own your own home (Factsheet 019) (PDF, 36KB)Opens new window

The maximum amount we will pay towards care in an independently run home

We put a limit on the amount of money we will pay towards care in an independently run home. The fees charged by independently run residential homes vary from home to home.

In 2017/2018, the maximum level of fees which we will contribute to care homes in the City and County of Swansea is:

  • Residential (personal) care for older people: £511.00 per week
  • General nursing care (including the personal care element): £570.00 per week
  • Dementia nursing care (including the personal care element): £586.00 per week

If you are receiving nursing care you will also be entitled to receive a payment of £148.01 per week from the NHS. This may be referred to as the Registered Nursing Care Contribution or as Funded Nursing Care.

If you want to move to a home in the City and County of Swansea which charges more than this, you will have to arrange for someone else (such as a relative) to pay the difference through what is known as an Additional Charges Third Party Agreement. Our factsheet  PDF Document Third Party Payments for Care Home Fees (Factsheet 013) (PDF, 28KB)Opens new window gives more information.

If you want to move to a home which is outside the City and County of Swansea we will first need to find out the usual contribution for that category of care which is made by the Local Authority in that area. We will then use that to inform the contribution we make.

If you have capital of over £30,000

If you have capital of over £30,000, you are expected to pay all of the cost of your care out of that money and any income you have. Make sure that you are getting all the benefits you might be entitled to, such as Attendance Allowance. Plan ahead to make sure that you will get help from us once your savings drop below £30,000. It's worth getting in touch when your savings fall to about £32,000, to give us time to sort things out.

You should take care not to deliberately give away your money (or your house) to bring your savings below the £30,000 limit.

There is more information for people who pay for their own residential care in our factsheet PDF Document Information for people funding their own residential care (Factsheet 056) (PDF, 40KB)Opens new window.

If you need nursing care and don't qualify for help with the cost from Social Services, then the NHS may pay up to £148.01 per week towards the cost of the nursing care. The NHS issues its own information on this.

Paying the fees

If you are in a home run by Social Services we will send you a bill periodically for your share of the cost. We can assist you to claim your pension, and any other relevant benefits. Staff at the home will make sure that you get your Minimum Income Amount every week.

If you are in an independent home, it is up to you to make arrangements with the home as to how you will pay your share of the cost. We will pay our share directly to the home.

If you think we've made a mistake

If you think that we have made a mistake with working out what you should pay towards residential or nursing care, then please let the Social Care Income & Finance Team know and we will review our financial assessment.

Tel: 01792 636380.

Swansea Social Services and personal information

When you are in touch with Social Services, we will keep information about you in written records and computer files. We will keep this information confidential, except where we need to share it with people providing you with care, or to protect you or other people.

You have a right to ask to see records we keep about you.  We can give you more information about how we handle personal information.

Comments and complaints

We welcome any comments about our services - good or bad. We are interested to hear how we could do things better, and we like to know when we are doing well.

If you are unhappy with the services you receive, we encourage you to make a complaint. Full details are given in Making a Comment, Complaint or Compliment about Swansea Social Services (Factsheet 16). For more advice or information about making a complaint, you can contact our Complaints Officers on 01792 637345.

This information is also available in alternative formats, such as large print, on audio CD, in Braille, or electronically. Please phone 01792 636902 for copies.

Factsheet: 010/v.18 May 2017

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