Finding out whether the local authority will pay for some or all of the costs of care is a two-stage process:
Care needs assessment. This will identify the nature and level of support required.
Financial assessment. This is a means test to review the finances of someone requiring care.
You are entitled to have a care needs assessment no matter how much income or savings you have, and it doesn't matter how complex or simple your needs are. If you care for someone, you are also entitled to a carer's assessment. To arrange an assessment you should contact your local council.
Local authority funding limits
If the financial assessment finds that someone’s income, including savings and investments, is above a certain limit they’ll be responsible for paying the costs of their care. This limit is known as the upper threshold. If the individual’s capital is below the upper threshold then the local authority will pay towards their care. Once their savings are below the lower threshold, the individual will only have to pay using their income towards their care and not from their savings.
These are the thresholds for the tax year 2020/21:.
* This is the upper threshold for nursing home care. A lower threshold of £24,000 applies for care in the home.
What if income or savings are reduced to avoid paying for care?
If someone gives away or spends money to avoid paying for care, their local authority can still include the amount in any financial assessment. The local authority will usually consider two questions:
Did the person know at the time they reduced their wealth that they needed care?
Was the key reason to influence the result of the financial assessment?
What benefits or allowances can be claimed?
There are two disability benefits available. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is payable to someone under 65. Attendance Allowance is payable to people over 65 when they claim. How much is payable depends on the nature of the disability. Find out more about PIP or Attendance Allowance.
Care in the home
Many of the services provided in the home are charged for. The kind of services typically available include meals and carers, transport, home modifications and equipment that can help with the tasks of daily living. The same assessment criteria are applied to calculate whether financial support is provided by the local authority, but the value of the home is excluded.
Now you know more about who pays for care. Find out more about preparing for later life and how to find the right care.