Third party top-ups
If a person qualifies for local authority funding to pay for their care home, it's possible to choose an alternative, more expensive care home and arrange for the extra cost to be paid by someone else - usually a relative, friend or charity. This is known as a third party top-up.
It's worth bearing in mind that if the care home proposed by the local authority does not meet the client’s requirements (or their care needs haven’t been properly assessed), the decision can be challenged. This should be considered before arranging a third party top-up.
How it works
The extra cost has to be met by a third party unless:
- There is a deferred payment agreement with the local authority.
- Your client is eligible for a View - 12 week property disregard. This scheme was established to give people who need to live in a care home permanently time to think about their future before making any final decisions.
- Care is being provided under section 117 of the Mental Health Act (as aftercare)
The local authority is responsible for making the payments to the care home and will invoice for the top-up.
They'll also ask the person topping up to sign a written agreement.
The local authority will provide a written agreement covering the terms of the arrangement. This will include:
- the cost of the top-up
- when these payments will be reviewed
- an explanation of how any increases in care home fees will be paid
- what would happen if the top-up becomes unaffordable
If the top-up payments become unaffordable, the local authority will have to carry out another care needs assessment on the individual receiving care. While the review is in process, they are responsible for paying the top up fees.
Who might benefit?
A third party top-up can help people who want to choose an alternative, more expensive care home and can arrange for the extra fees to be paid by someone else.
Information researched and accurate as of October 2023. Not to be relied upon by advisers or their clients.