Self-Funding Care – What You Need to Know

If you live in England and have more than £23,250 in savings, you will probably have to pay for at least some of your care. The value of your property may also be taken into consideration if you opt for residential care rather than care in your own home.

As care costs can be significant, it’s no surprise that self-funding is one of the things we get asked about most often. Care at home will cost at least £20 per hour and residential care over £600 per week.

The reality for most people is that care costs are hard to avoid, and some level of self-funding is inevitable. But there are exceptions and it always pays to know the facts so you can plan effectively. The Money Advice Service has plenty of information on their website.

Exceptions and Benefits

Social care is intended to help with tasks that are part of normal living rather than healthcare needs for a disability or complex medical condition. Continuing healthcare requirements could potentially be covered by NHS funding. Unfortunately, there are no clear definitions of what conditions are included and getting the NHS to pay for healthcare costs can be difficult.

To access NHS support, you will need to ask your GP or social services department to arrange a care needs assessment.

You may be able to claim benefits to meet some of your care costs. If you are over 65 and have a long-term illness or disability, you can claim Attendance Allowance towards the cost of care at home. This may not cover the whole cost of your care but will help to reduce the burden.

If you have an illness or disability caused by work, you can claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit and possibly a Constant Attendance Allowance on top of this if you need daily care.


The value of your property isn’t relevant if you are planning to receive care in your own home. If you decide on residential care, it will be counted unless your partner continues to live in it.

It might be that selling your property to pay for residential care is a sensible choice. But there are alternatives if you’re not yet ready to make that step or if you want to remain at home. Equity release will provide a lump sum in return for a share of your home. Your council may also have a deferred payment scheme where they fund your care and recover the cost from the proceeds when your home is eventually sold or from your estate.

Arranging Care

If you are paying for your own care, you can choose a care provider you prefer and deal with them directly. It still makes sense to have a care needs assessment so that you know what type and level of care you need to buy and whether any financial support is available. The council might, for example, pay for equipment or modifications to your home to make it easier for you to live in.

If you think you are eligible for council or NHS funded care, arranging a care needs assessment will be the first step.

In some areas you can ask social services to arrange care with an approved provider and bill you for the cost, but not all areas offer this.

If you are funding your own care and you think that your savings will go below the £23,250 threshold, you should contact your social services department three months beforehand. They can then arrange a new financial assessment. They will not back-date their financial support if you claim after your savings have gone below the threshold.

Self-funding care can be a complex area, the team at Altogether Care are always happy to answer any questions you might have. Just give us a call on 01305 206140 or visit our Contact page.

Elderly Care Funding – Your Step by Step Guide

Many of us are likely to need some level of care support as we get older. And the reality is that most of us will have to pay for some or all of that care. Uncertainty over how care funding rules work can cause anxiety and may lead to people not seeking the help they need.

This guide briefly explains how the process works. While there’s no easy way to avoid care costs it’s always helpful to understand how your care needs will be assessed and how your local council will decide what you will need to pay.

1. The Care Needs Assessment

The first step is to have your care needs assessed by your local council. You can request a care needs assessment by contacting the adult social services department. You can also do this on behalf of a relative as long as they give their consent. The assessment is free.

You may also have a care needs assessment if you are about to be discharged from hospital. If you need medical rather than personal care the NHS will pay. This would normally apply only if you have a disability or complex medical condition.

2. The Care Plan

The assessment will look at your physical and emotional needs. Based on these needs, your preferences, and what you would like to be able to do more easily with care support, the local council will draw up a care plan. They will most likely consult your doctor or any other health professionals you come into contact with regularly.

The care plan will specify the help you need and any modifications that might be needed to make you home easier for you to live in. It may say whether the most appropriate option is for you to receive help from a care at home service or residential care.

3. The Means Test

The council will ask about your income, savings and other assets to assess how much you need to contribute to the cost of your care. If you are planning to use a care at home service, the means test will not include the value of your property.

If you are going to enter residential care the cost of your property will be included unless your home will continue to be occupied by your spouse or partner, a relative aged over 60 or a child under the age of 18.

If you live in England and have assets of more than £23,250 you will have to fund all of your care. Below this level the local council will meet some of the cost. If you have assets worth less than £14,250 the council will pay for all of your care.

Giving away assets to family members to avoid care fees is unlikely to work. It is often possible to defer payments so that they are collected from your estate after you die.

4. Paying for Care

If you are eligible for council-funded care they can arrange this for you, or you can receive direct payments and pay for the care yourself. If you are self-funding, your council can still provide advice and help you choose a reputable care provider.

Altogether Care is a family-run business providing a range of care services to people in Dorset, South Somerset and Hampshire. If you have any questions about the support available, costs or any other aspect of care please get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.

Do People want Care Down to a Price, or up to a Standard for their Loved Ones?

Care home fees are an emotive issue. They can consume a large proportion of the wealth people have spent a lifetime building.  This can mean there is much less for relatives to inherit. And, of course, there’s the ‘random’ element that means some older people never need to go into care while others do.

It’s probably not surprising that people question whether the fees being charged are reasonable. In most parts of the country fees are over £651 per week of the 2017 national average. And that’s just for the residential element. Any specialist nursing care will be additional.

Over £33,000 per year may sound like a lot. But perhaps it isn’t if you compare it to the cost of even a fairly modest hotel. In a care home, on top of the accommodation there will be some element of personal care depending on individual needs. This could be help with washing and dressing or safe administration of medication. There will also be meals and laundry.

A care home is also much more than a warm and comfortable place to live. There are activities and outings to maintain physical and emotional wellbeing. There are also qualified staff who can keep an eye on the physical and mental health of residents. Companionship and round the clock help are part of the package.

Regulation and Training

Care homes are not free to deliver whatever standard of care they think appropriate. It is a highly regulated sector. Everything from the way homes are managed to the skills of staff is monitored alongside basic considerations such as hygiene and health and safety. Performance is evaluated by the Care Quality Commission and their judgements are very public.

The training costs to ensure that all staff are suitably skilled and qualified are significant and new regulations and requirements come along all the time.

Quite rightly, the CQC, relatives and society place very high expectations on the way that homes care for their residents. This is as it should be. But it cannot be done for a budget price.

For more information on funding care, take a look at our page here and our direct payments infographic

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