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Paying for care

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Understanding the cost of care

Taking a few minutes to understand the costs and how to pay for care can really help when it comes to making future decisions.

Many people needing care find they’ll have to cover some or all of the costs themselves, which can be daunting. Thinking them through in advance will help you choose your next steps carefully. That can even stop you having to move to a new care provider later on if your care needs change.

In home care costs

The United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) calculated a minimum price for homecare of £28.53 per hour (from April 2024). It covers the UK Living Wage for careworkers and includes their travel time, mileage and wage-related costs. The rate also includes a minimum payment towards running a care business at a financially sustainable level.

Care home costs

Care home fees can be significant, though they will vary depending on where you live and what your needs are. In many homes you might pay more than £1,000 per week, although the average weekly cost for a residential care home is approximately £800. This average increases to £1100 where nursing care is required. Private payers may find that the average cost of a care home is higher.

If you want to understand how your care may be paid for, our calculator can give you an answer in just five easy steps.

Calculate my care costs

Ways of paying for care

There are several different ways you can pay for care, and most people find they need a combination of two or more to cover the full cost. These are some of the most common ways to pay:

  • Local Authority Funding - Your local authority may be eligible to cover some, or all, of your care cost.
  • NHS funding- If you have a nursing need as well as a social care need, the NHS could pay for some of your care.
  • State benefits - Regardless of finances, everyone needing care is likely to be eligible for Attendance Allowance, a benefit for people over the age of 65 with support needs.
  • Using your property - If you own a property you may be able to use the value in your home to help cover the cost of home care and any home adaptations or improvements.
  • Financial products - If you will be meeting your care costs as a self-funder, then it is advisable to speak with a specialist Independent Financial Adviser. They can advise you on specialist care funding products that may help you to cover the cost of care.

Take our Care Costs Calculator to find out whether you might be entitled to state support.

Local authority care funding

If you live in England and have less than £23,250 in savings and assets, you could get some financial support from your local authority to pay for any care they’ve agreed you need, at home or in a care home.

The first step is to ask for a free care assessment from the social services department of your local authority.

What to expect from the financial assessment

Once your local authority has agreed your care needs, they’ll look into your finances to work out how much you should pay towards the cost. It could mean you’ll need to pay for none, part or all of your care, depending on your income, savings and property you own.

Only the finances of the person who needs care should be considered in the financial assessment.

Your savings, assets, and investments

One of the first questions you’ll be asked is whether you have more than £23,250 in capital assets. If the answer is yes, you’ll be considered a ‘self-funder’ and you’ll need to cover the full cost of your care.

The financial assessment will look at your income and assets, including:

  • Savings, including ISAs
  • Stocks and shares
  • Second homes or buy-to-let properties
  • Investments with a ‘cash-in’ value
  • Your property if you’re moving to a care home.

If you have savings below £23,250 Then you may be able to get help to pay for care from your local authority.

How local authority care payments work

If your local authority agrees to help you pay for care, they’ll decide a personal budget that covers the care needs they’ve identified.

For residential care in a home, this is sometimes called the ‘usual cost’ and your local authority must make sure that at least one care home has availability to meet your needs within the budget they set.

Unsure whether you will qualify for state support? Use our Care Costs Calculator.

Use our Care Assistant tool to get all the information you need about later life care.

Care Concierge

If you would like some expert advice on finding a new care provider, resolving a dispute or exploring funding options then you might benefit from talking with our Care Concierge team. The service is available to you in full and at no cost.

Speak to a Care Expert