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Paying for Residential Care

How much you will have to pay for residential care depends on your income, savings and other assets.

If you have less than £50,000 in savings or other capital assets (including your home) and Social Services agree that moving to a residential home is the best way of meeting your care needs, then you should request a Financial Assessment.   Depending on the outcome of this assessment Social Services may be able to make a contribution towards your care home fees.

Paying for Care in a Nursing or Residential Home has more information about how Social Services works out whether someone can get help with care home fees.   You can also download/print this information as a factsheet:  PDF Document Paying for Care in a Residential or Nursing Home (Factsheet 010) (PDF, 53KB)Opens new window. This guidance is linked to national policy and information which is subject to annual changes. 


If your capital assets are more than £50,000 you will be normally be responsible for paying the full cost of your care home fees. Such people are referred to as 'self-funders'.  We have further information for self-funders in our factsheet  PDF Document Information for people funding their own residential care (Factsheet 056) (PDF, 47KB)Opens new window

If you own your home

If you do not have sufficient income or other savings or assets to meet the full cost of the care home fees, the capital which you have tied up in your home may have to be released in order to pay the fees.   This often means that you would have to sell your home. However 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.

If you own your home, but your other assets total less than £50,000, there is some additional help available.  For the first 12 weeks that you spend in permanent residential care, the value of your home will not be taken into account when Social Services works out how much you will need to contribute to the cost. This is known as the 12 Week Property Disregard.  In some cases you may be able to ask about a Deferred Payment, which would mean that your home would not have to be sold until after your death.

There is more information about both of these arrangements in our factsheet   PDF Document Deferring Payments for Care Home Fees when you own your own home (Factsheet 019) (PDF, 58KB)Opens new window 

Top Up Fees

Some independent care homes charge fees which are higher than the maximum amount that Social Services can contribute.  If you need guidance on which local independent care homes may charge higher fees, please contact our Contracting section on 01792 636060.

If Social Services is contributing towards your care home fees, and you choose to move into a home which charges a higher fee, someone, normally a relative, will have to pay the difference between the two amounts - known as both "top-up fees" and "third party payments" - directly to the home. 

The person who is living in the home is not normally allowed to pay the top-up fees.  This is because that person will have had a financial assessment and already be contributing as much as the government's rules for care home fee payments say they can afford. 

For more information see our factsheet PDF Document Third Party Payments for Care Home Fees (Factsheet 013) (PDF, 28KB)Opens new window

Continuing NHS Health Care

If you have complex, ongoing health care needs the team involved in your care, including the relevant health professionals, must consider whether you meet the eligibility criteria for Continuing NHS Care.    If you are eligible for this, there is no charge for services that address your personal care or health needs. This can be provided in any setting eg your own home, a care home or in hospital.

NHS Information about Continuing Health CareOpens new window

Further Information

Payment for residential care is a complex area and you may wish to seek independent financial or legal advice.  There are links at the bottom of this page to some organisations which can offer advice about paying for care.  There are slight differences in the arrangements for care home fees for Wales and England, so if you read guidance produced by national organisations, make sure what you read applies to Wales. 

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