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Financial matters


Arranging a place in a care home

If you have adequate resources to fund your own care you may wish to approach a care home run by an independent organisation and apply for a place yourself.

If you do not have sufficient funds to finance your own care or cannot afford to pay your fees you should approach the local authority for an assessment. The local authority will then arrange a place in a care home of your choice, as long as certain criteria are met. There has to be vacancy, and the home has to be suitable for your care needs.

The place must be offered in accordance with the local authority’s terms and conditions. This means that the cost to the local authority must be limited to the financial level it has set and for the level of residential care required. If however, you express a preference for a more expensive care home, then you are entitled to do so as long as you have a relative or a friend who will be able to fund the shortfall between the local authority capping and the actual fees charged.        

Cost of nursing care and personal care in care homes

In England, Wales and Northern Ireland the cost of a registered nursing care is met by the NHS and therefore free to the individual. In England there is an allowance of £109.79 (standard rate 2013/2014) and £151.10 (higher rate 2013/2014) per week that is paid directly to the nursing home to be deducted from the fees. The amount paid in Northern Ireland is £100 (2013) per week and £120.55 in Wales (2013). Residents in care homes are expected to pay for the personal care they receive and their accommodation. The Health and Social Care Act 2011 defines nursing care as any “services provided by a registered nurse and involving (a) the provision of care or (b) the planning, supervision or delegation of the provision of care”.

In Scotland, if you are aged 65 or over and live in a care home you are entitled to £166 a week, if you need personal care. A further £75 a week is paid if you also need nursing care, or £231 per week (2013).

If you are under 65 and live in a care home you are not eligible for personal care payments but may be entitled to a contribution towards nursing costs if you require nursing care.

If you require personal care at home and are aged 65 and over, eligibility for free care, or care and nursing payments depends on the local authority assessment. Personal care includes care related to day to day physical tasks and personal support provided as part of the planned programme of care.      
Once the local authority has established your care needs (Care Needs Assessment) , a financial assessment can be made regarding your ability to pay for any support you may require. The assessment will determine the proportion of the cost the local authority will cover and how much you will have to contribute.

The financial assessment has to be done within the first eight weeks of your permanent stay in a care home. For a temporary resident the financial assessment can be done after the first eight weeks. There are slight differences between the financial assessment of a permanent resident and that of a temporary resident. The most important difference is that the value of a temporary resident’s house is disregarded in full.


In England and Northern Ireland residents whose capital exceeds £23,250 (2013/14) will have to pay the full fee. Capital less than £14,250 is disregarded. In Wales the set amount is £22,750 (2013/14), there is no lower figure. In Scotland the set amount is £22,750 (2013/14). Capital less than £14,000 is disregarded.

Any capital between the set amount and the disregard figure is deemed to be earning interest i.e. £1 income per week for every £250 capital.

Your capital includes the value of the home after deduction of any outstanding mortgage(s). 10% of the value is ignored to allow the cost of a sale so that 90% of the value is actually taken into account for the assessment. However, for the initial 12 weeks of your stay the value of your home is disregarded unless it is sold during this period.

In the following circumstances the value of the home is disregarded altogether:

  • Your spouse or partner still lives there and is not estranged from the resident
  • A relative who is incapacitated or aged 60 and over lives there
  • A child under 16 lives there and you are liable to maintain the child

The local authority also has the discretionary power to disregard the value of the home, if somebody who does not fit into one of the above categories lives there.

If you give away any capital or sell it for less than its actual value, the local authority can assess you as if you still own the capital.


When the local authority assess your income it will take into account earnings, most benefits and income from pensions. A weekly personal expenses allowance is deducted from the assessed income. This allowance is £23.90 (2013/14) for England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. For Wales this is £24.50 (2013/14).

The above figures are for guide purposes only and are subject to change for the current NHS funding contribution towards Nursing Care the following link:  

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