Cookies at Which? We use cookies to help improve our sites. If you continue, we'll assume that you're happy to accept our cookies. Find out more about cookies

2 Capital limits for care at home

Not everyone is eligible for local authority funding, but many people will be able to get some kind of financial support. It all depends on the amount of capital (savings and assets) your relative has, as well as their income.

  • If your relative lives in England and has capital of less than £14,250 (2016-2017), they will be entitled to maximum support.
  • If your relative has between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, they have to contribute towards the cost of their care at home. They will have to pay £1 for every £250 of their savings between £14,250 and £23,250. This is known as ‘tariff income’.
  • If your relative has capital of more than £23,250, they will need to use that capital to pay the full cost of their care. If your relative has less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income high enough to cover the cost of their care, they will be liable to pay all of their fees.

National guidance called ‘Fairer Charging Guidance’ helps councils work out how much to charge for home care services. Councils must follow the fairer charging policy, but they still have quite a lot of flexibility in what they charge and prices can vary across the UK.

Charges, however, should not take your relative’s income below the level of the Pension Guarantee Credit entitlement (plus a 25% ‘buffer’). This means that in 2016-2017 no one should have less than £189.00 per week to live on (for couples this is £288.56 per week).

In Northern Ireland, domiciliary care is free to all who have been assessed by their local authority as needing it. This is regardless of their personal circumstances, so no financial assessment is necessary. 

In Scotland, personal care is free to those aged over 65 who have been assessed by their local authority as needing it. This is regardless of their personal circumstances – so no financial assessment is necessary. However, charges still apply to non-personal care services; more details are described in this document.

In Wales, charges should not take your relative's income below the level of the Pension Guarantee Credit entitlement (plus 35% buffer with an additional 10% disregard for disability-related expenditure). This means that in 2016-17 no one should have less than £219.24 per week to live on (£334.73 for couples). 

There is just one limit: £24,000 (2016-17). If your relative has savings above this, the most anyone will have to pay in 2016-17 is £60 per week for their care at home. If they have savings below this limit, they will not have to contribute from their capital, but will be expected to contribute from their income.

Downloadable guide

Helping loved ones in later life is an introduction to the different care choices that are available. Perhaps you are looking for ways to help a relative to stay living at home, or it could be that one (or both) of your parents or a partner want to move into somewhere offering sheltered or residential care. We explain the choices and how to find out more.