We use cookies to allow us and selected partners to improve your experience and our advertising. By continuing to browse you consent to our use of cookies as per our policy which also explains how to change your preferences.

Close
Menu
Home care
Find out about care at home, adaptations and technology to help you stay independent in your own home for longer.
Financing care
Learn about funding options for home care, home adaptations and care homes, together with Attendance Allowance, gifting assets and Power of Attorney.
Housing options
Consider your options and learn about sheltered housing, retirement villages and care homes.
End of life
Guidance to help you through the emotional and practical steps of losing a loved one, from coping with bereavement to arranging a funeral.

Paying for home care

We explain the options for paying for care at home, from local authority support to paying for it yourself, known as self-funding.
3 min read
In this article
How is care at home paid for? When will the local authority pay for care? When will you be a self-funder?
When will the NHS contribute to the cost of care at home?

How is care at home paid for?

Care at home is paid in the following ways in the UK:

  • The local authority funds some or all of the care.
  • Self-funding: the person being cared for (or their family) pays all the costs for their care.
  • In some circumstances, the NHS may also contribute to the cost of all or some of the care.

When will the local authority pay for care?

To decide if you are eligible for financial support for care, the local authority will first carry out a free needs assessment.

If you’re assessed as having ‘eligible needs’, the council will next carry out a financial assessment because there are thresholds for savings and assets above which you will need to pay for care. The upper limits in 2018–19 are:

  • In England: £23,250
  • In Wales: £30,000
  • In Northern Ireland and Scotland: there is no financial assessment for care at home as all personal care is paid for by the state.

To decide if you’re eligible for financial support for care, the local authority will first carry out a free needs assessment.

We explain more about the financial assessment in local authority funding for home care.

Cost of care and eligibility in England
Use our simple tool to find out how much care might cost in England and what financial support is available.

When will you be a self-funder?

 

You’ll have to arrange and pay for care at home if you:

  • have savings and assets in excess of the capital limits for care

  • don’t qualify for council funding because your needs weren’t found to be sufficient following a needs assessment.


Even if you choose not to apply for financial support, it can be beneficial to get the needs assessment done because the social services will be able to explain the range of services available to meet your needs. For example, even if you aren’t eligible for funding, you could still have services arranged by the local authority (although, you would be charged the full price of the care). It could also be important if your needs should change in the future.

 

There are several ways that you might raise money to help pay for your care:

  • Income: from pensions, work, investments or property.
  • Attendance Allowance, which isn’t means tested.
  • Financial help from family or friends.
Which? Money Helpline
Get free one-to-one guidance on money matters relating to paying for care. Call Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm to speak to one of our experts.

You might also want to consider:

  • Downsizing: selling your current home and buying a smaller one could give you a lump sum to help pay for care.
  • Letting a room: if you have enough space, you might consider letting a room to a lodger. This can help raise extra money without the need to move house.
  • Equity release: if you own your home, you might be able to use an equity release scheme to ‘unlock’ cash from the value of your property.


Whichever option you consider, seek advice from a specialist accredited later life adviser who is a fully listed member of the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). For more guidance on finding an IFA, see how to find a financial adviser on the Which? Money website.

 

When will the NHS contribute to the cost of care at home?

 

The NHS will pay all care costs at home under certain circumstances. NHS Continuing Healthcare funds people who need ongoing health care outside of hospital if they have complex medical care needs due to disability, accident or a major illness. This funding isn’t means tested.

Further reading

Domiciliary care fees

Find out about home care fees and how they can vary according to where you live in the UK, as well as the type of care ...

Last updated: 18 Sep 2018