Paying for adult social care and support if you live in your own home
This article provides information on the costs of adult social care and support if you live in your own home, the ways to pay them, and how to apply for help to cover these if you are eligible.
The term ‘care and support’ is used to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking meals, eating, seeing friends, caring for families and being part of the community.
Some people plan ahead for how they will cover the cost of their care and support, while others may only access the information when these needs are first identified. This article provides information to help you make informed financial decisions around paying for care and support to help you stay in your own home.
If you are moving to a permanent residential home, see our article Paying for residential and nursing care.
- Care and support plans and personal budgets
- Understanding charging arrangements and likely costs
- Capacity to make decisions
- Self-funded care and adaptations
- Getting a financial assessment
- Ways to pay
- Further information and getting independent financial advice
Care and support needs are determined by a needs assessment, and are detailed in a care and support plan. Services to meet these needs can be provided by the council, or other organisations and agencies.
Care at home arranged by your local council is not usually free. The council may help with the costs of the care and support you receive, but how much you pay depends on your financial situation - see ‘Getting a financial assessment’ below.
The council will calculate your personal budget, an estimate of how much money will be available for your care and support, including what the council will pay and what amount (if any) you will have to pay. Your contribution is determined by a financial assessment. Services can be arranged for you, or you can choose to receive your personal budget as a direct payment to enable you to arrange your own services. You can read more about personal budgets and direct payments here.
The financial assessment for a Disabled Facilities Grant is a separate process to the one
described in this article Adaptations to your home has more information.
The majority of care services provided by South Gloucestershire Council are chargeable. Some specific services are not chargeable (in accordance with regulations under the Care Act 2014; you can read the statutory guidance for the act here), or are not chargeable for a specific time period. If you qualify to receive non chargeable services for a specific period and this is extended, or costs are to be waived, the council will inform you in writing.
You will be charged for day care services even if you do not attend, and many services have rules around notice periods if you no longer wish to attend.
You should note that:
- people are charged for the places booked for them, whether or not they attend
- people attending day services are charged 52 weeks per year, and the charge reflects planned closures during the year
You will be notified of how much you will need to contribute to the cost of your care and support following your financial assessment.
If you receive direct payments from the council and you lack mental capacity, these can be made to an appropriate authorised person, such as a family member or friend, who receives and manages the payments on your behalf. Our article on Direct payments and personal budgets has more information.
If you are responsible for paying for your own care, but do not have mental capacity to arrange it for yourself and you have no one to do this for you, the council has a duty to arrange your care. The article Making decisions and managing affairs for someone else also provides more information on capacity and care decisions.
You can choose to arrange and pay for care yourself if you do not want a financial assessment. Even if you choose to pay for your care, the council can do a needs assessment to check what care you might need – refer to ‘Care and support plans and personal budgets’ above.
If you are assessed as having eligible needs, but are a self-funder due to your income or capital following the financial assessment, you can still ask the council to arrange your care. You should note however that they may charge you for the cost of services, as well as for the arrangement of these through a one off £304 ‘arrangement fee’ and an annual £78 administration fee. A further additional fee of £304 may be charged should you instigate a change of provider during the year. If you do not wish to pay these fees, there is the option for you to go directly to providers yourself.
The NHS website has information about paying for your own care.
Information about the cost of adaptations and equipment can be found in our article: Adaptations to your home.
Care and support at home arranged by your local council can be expensive.
The council may help with the costs of the care and support you receive, but how much you pay depends on your financial situation. The council will look at your income and outgoings along with the amount of savings you have – this is known as a means tested financial assessment. Once your financial assessment is complete, the council will backdate any charges to the date that services started.
You do not have to tell the council about your finances if you do not want to, but if this is the case, the council will assume that you are able to afford to pay the full cost of the care and support you receive.
If your social care worker thinks you may be eligible for ongoing care and support, they will ask South Gloucestershire Council’s Financial Assessments and Benefits Team to carry out a financial assessment. You should tell your social care worker if someone else looks after your money as they will need to be involved in your financial assessment.
You can request an estimate of the amount that you would likely have to contribute to your care and support at any time by contacting the Financial Assessments and Benefits Team on 01454 864269 or by email to FABTEAM@southglos.gov.uk. You can also use our care costs calculator.
You should have available to hand information about you and your partner’s savings, investments and income as the estimate is subject to confirmation of the information you provide.
There are some important things to note:
- the value of the home you live in as your main residence is not taken
into account - if you own a second home and/or holiday home, the value
of this will be taken into account
- if your total savings and capital e.g. a second home, savings and
investments adds up to £23,250 or more you will have to pay the full
cost of your care and support
- if your total savings and capital is below the threshold of £23,250 we will calculate the maximum amount that you are able to contribute
Even if you have to pay the full cost of your care and support, you can still have help and support to set up services, or to recruit personal assistants or agency staff.
If you are offered care and support services from South Gloucestershire Council, you cannot give away or dispose of your savings, assets or income to qualify for reduced charges. This is known as deprivation and you may still be treated as possessing the savings, capital asset or income even though you do not have them.
The Financial Assessments and Benefits (FAB) Team has specialist advisors available to help you complete a statement of your financial circumstances and provide further information on any of the above areas. You can contact them by phone 01454 86 4269 or email FABTeam@southglos.gov.uk.
Once the amount you have to pay towards your care has been assessed, you will receive an invoice every four weeks for your contribution. Information about how to pay or query the charge is provided on the back of every invoice.
Direct payments allow you to receive your personal budget as a cash payment, which you can use to buy services. Direct payments provide greater choice and flexibility in the way you arrange the support you want. You can include things the council do not contract and directly pay for. More information on direct payments is available in this article.
If you receive a direct payment, you will be expected to contribute toward the cost of services if you have been financially assessed to do so. The amount of money the council gives you has had your personal contribution deducted. You will be expected to pay your contribution into the direct payments account on a weekly or monthly basis. You will not receive invoices for your contribution. There is guidance available for how to pay your personal contribution into your account. The best way to do this is to set up a standing order from your personal bank account to the direct payments account. You should be aware that your direct payment may be stopped if you do not pay your personal contribution into the direct payments account.
There are many places you can get independent financial advice and practical help about meeting future and current care and support costs, as well as general information about money management and budgeting. The article How to get independent financial advice provides more information on this.
The Society of Later Life Advisors (SOLLA) website, provides information on choosing an accredited member of the Society with the expertise to best understand your needs and provide advice that is right for you and your family. Be aware that services may charge.
Swan advocacy provide advocacy services for adult care matters.
If you disagree with the amount you have been asked to contribute towards your care and support costs, the name and telephone number of the person in the Financial Assessments and Benefits Team who prepared the calculation will be given on the statement. You should contact this person in the first instance, as we may be able to review the assessment. If you wish to make a formal complaint to the council about any aspect of the financial assessment or how the council has chosen to charge, this article explains how to do this.
Everyone has the right to be free from harm including financial abuse. If you have any concerns about an adult at risk you must report it by calling 01454 868007. Visit the South Gloucestershire Safeguarding Board website for more information.