How much will care cost?
Paying for Residential care
Prices of residential care wholly depend on the type of care home, the care services provided or the care package you choose.
The average cost of a care home in the UK ranges from £27,000 annually to £55,000. Care homes with lower annual care fees will provide a basic level of care, such as washing and providing meals, whereas the higher price will be for nursing care homes with specially trained staff who can provide medical care. These prices can also change depending on where the home is located in the UK – for example, London care homes will be more expensive than those in the North East.
At a care home, your weekly charge will not cover care alone. A significant proportion of care home fees go towards accommodation, the home’s utility bills, catering costs and other daily living costs. This means less is dedicated to the care itself. There may also be an additional cost for services such as hairdressing, social activities, or toiletries. It’s important to ask whether these additional services are optional so that you’re not paying for things you don’t need or use.
Who is responsible for paying care home fees?
You’ll still receive your income from pensions if you move into a care home. However, if any of your fees are paid by your local authority or the NHS, you may have to use your State Retirement Pension to contribute to the cost of care.
What is the 12-week disregard for care home fees?
If you live in England, you have to fund your care costs independently if you have total assets worth more than the upper capital limit of £23,250. However, if your liquid assets are below this amount but you own a property which you intend to sell to fund your long-term care, the local authorities must disregard the value of your property for the first 12 weeks of you moving into a care home, and fund your care. When the 12 weeks are over, or your property is sold (whichever happens first), you must fully fund your own care. If your financial circumstances change unexpectedly when you’re already in a care home, the council can still apply the 12-week disregard.
When your local authority carries out your financial assessment, they will let you know if you’re eligible for the 12-week disregard.
What happens when a person in a nursing home runs out of money?
If your savings have dropped below the required costs of your care, it can be a distressing and anxious time. However, your local authority still has a duty of care to those who have been officially assessed as having care needs, including for funding care, even if you were initially able to afford the costs of your care personally.
Paying for home care
When working out how much you’ll pay for home care, It’s important to factor in daily living costs, such as utility bills, food etc. The cost of home care will also be influenced by the type of care needed, such as domiciliary care, convalescent care, and 24-hour or hourly care.
It’s important to check whether your chosen provider charges additional fees or extra costs alongside your weekly rate. These can include extra charges for nightly wake-ups if your carer lives with you, charges for sourcing a carer, surcharges over bank holidays, or a one-off fee for using an agency’s services.
Check if your provider charges a flat rate, or will offer a personalised rate for your care, based on your care needs. This will mean you’re only paying for the care you require.
If you live in Scotland, no matter your condition, capital or income, if you need personal care, you’re entitled to an allowance for personal or nursing care.
What happens when a person receiving home care runs out of money?
If you’re worried about paying for future care, it may help to seek financial advice from an independent advisor (IFA). Unfortunately, these services aren’t usually free, although some organisations do offer the first consultation on a no-obligation basis, which can provide useful independent advice on what to do next.
Get clarity on paying for care
Start by using our care costs calculator to get clarity on the funding options that are most suited to your situation. Take a few minutes, answer a few details about your care needs and financial situation, and it’ll give you a good idea of where to start.
Our four-step plan to pay for care
When approaching care funding for the first time, it can all feel a bit overwhelming. You may not know where’s best to start. After helping thousands of families with their care funding options, we’ve devised a simple, four-step strategy to getting the money you deserve.
Step 1– Get the benefits you’re entitled to
These are the simplest ways to maximise income. There is usually very little friction in terms of application, and much more people are eligible than claim. This can help you to afford the care you want. Billions of pounds go unclaimed each year – make sure you’re not missing out. Key benefits to look at include Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit, Carer’s Allowance, Personal Independence Payment and council tax rate relief.
Step 2 – Check your eligibility for NHS funding
This is a funding stream that covers all your care costs. It’s paid by your local NHS and is available for those who need support with long-term health needs.
NHS funding is the most difficult type of funding to get. However, should you qualify, you’re able to get your full care costs covered – so it’s worth starting with.
To do this, speak with your GP – asking for an NHS Continuing Healthcare Checklist. This is a quick screening test to see whether you’re suitable for a full assessment. With a personal health budget, you’re able to decide how your money is spent.
This is the first stage in the assessment process to check eligibility for a full assessment, carried out by a doctor, nurse or social worker. Around 62% people pass it.
The full assessment
This is the main assessment. A multidisciplinary team of health and social care workers will look through 12 care ‘domains’ to assess your eligibility.
Decision support tool
The Decision Support Tool helps assessors come to consistent decisions about who is eligible for funding. You can try the tool yourself for free online beforehand.
After the assessment
If eligible, a team will work with you to plan your care. You’ll have a big say over this. For example, you can take control of your funding with a personal health budget, or choose your own care provider.
Step 3 – Access local authority care funding
Most people fund their care with support from their local authority. But this is best to check after you’ve first ruled out NHS funding, as a referral from the NHS may increase your chances of getting care funding. This starts with a care needs assessment, and then a financial assessment. In England, you’ll be entitled to some care funding if you have less than £23,250 in liquid assets. You can request whatever funding you are entitled to as a direct payment, which puts you in control of how you want to spend it.
Understand the Care Act
The care act 2014 is the law that states how adult social care should be provided. It maps out eligibility for care and requires local authorities to provide services for people with care needs without delay that will impact their needs or make them worse.
Care needs assessment
This will tell you exactly what care needs you have. If you’re entitled to funding, the care needs assessment determines the size of your budget.
This means test assessment is to decide who is responsible for paying for your care – you or your local council.
This is the amount of money you need to pay for the cost of your care needs. The sum of your budget is based on the results of both assessments.
Direct payments are a way for you to take control of your personal budget and choose for yourself how you want to spend it.
Upgrade your home to make it suitable for care. You can get up to £1,500 from your local authority, regardless of your financial situation.
Step 4 – Funding care with savings or assets
If you’re not able to get your care fully funded by your local authority, all is not lost. You can use your liquid assets, or use any of a range of financial products to help you pay for care. There is an ever-increasing range of ways to release equity from your home. These products allow you to stay in your own home but use its value to fund your care.
Privately funding care: How to cope without support
Depending on your loved one’s circumstances, they may not qualify for funding from either the NHS or their local authority, and even if they do, the amount they receive may not be sufficient to pay for the care they need.
Using equity release to pay for care
Paying for care is a considerable long-term commitment, so if your loved one is considering long-term care in their own home, an equity release scheme could provide the necessary funds.
Things to remember
Paying for care can feel like a stressful and daunting process. It may feel like you’ve suddenly been launched into a world of box tickers and bureaucrats. But with the right mindset, there’s nothing stopping you from arranging the care you think is best.
It’s simpler to navigate than you think
The system is complex – and sometimes feels like it’s against you – but we can help break things down into manageable next steps.
There are always options
There are always options available. It may not feel like it sometimes. But don’t give up. Relax, and let us help you put together a plan.
We’re always here to support you
When you feel alone – lost – in the system, we’re on your side, championing your right to funding, and giving you the confidence to make decisions.
Hold your nerve
If you do your research and seek expert advice, you’ll be confident to challenge any decisions or assessments you don’t feel to be correct.