1 How to obtain local authority funding for care at home

In England and Wales, councils charge for the domiciliary care services that they provide, and only certain people qualify for help with the costs. So regardless of your relative’s financial situation, if you think they need care at home the first step is to get a needs assessment from the social services department of their local authority.

Local authorities have a legal duty to carry out a needs assessment of anyone they think might be eligible for local authority care. This gives a professional assessment of the type of care needed in the form of a written care plan.

If your relative is assessed as needing care and wants to apply for financial help, the local authority will carry out a financial assessment (also known as a ‘means test’) of your relative’s income, savings and assets to decide how much help they can give.

You don’t have to do a financial assessment

There is no obligation to do a financial assessment – for example, your relative may already know that they won’t qualify because their assets are considerably over the threshold. However, if they are unsure whether they will qualify or not, it is a good idea to do the financial assessment, and this can also give your relative a better idea of whether or when they may become eligible in the future.

The financial assessment

The financial assessment looks at your relative’s capital (savings and assets) and income to determine how much he or she should contribute towards the cost of their care. Your relative will need to have this done to find out if they are eligible for any financial help.

There are some specific rules that apply to funding for care at home. We summarise these in the rest of this guide so that you know what to expect.

In Wales, if both individuals in a couple are eligible for an assessment, they can choose whether to have a joint assessment or an individual assessment.

Care services directory

If you are looking for care agencies and local authority services for older people, use our searchable Care services directory.