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 (2018-19), 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 that is considered to be high enough to cover the cost of their care, they will be liable to pay all of their fees.
National guidance called the Care and Support Statutory 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 2018-19 no one should have less than £220.50 per week to live on (for couples this is £329.75 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, there is just one limit of £30,000 (2018-19) above which people will pay for their own care. Charges should not take your relative's income below the level of the Pension Guarantee Credit entitlement plus a 35% buffer with an additional 10% of their disability benefit, such as attendance allowance, for disability-related expenditure. (The disregard of 10% can be increased if your relative can demonstrate to the local authority that they spend more than 10% on disability-related expenditure.)
This means that in 2018-19 no one should have less than £238.14 per week to live on (£356.13 for couples) when the 35% buffer is added to your entitlement.
Which? guide to helping loved ones in later life
If you are looking for ways to help a relative stay living at home for longer, or need to find out about the different care options available, this downloadable guide explains your choices and how to find out more. It offers an introduction to choosing sheltered or residential care, plus advice on choosing the best products to aid independent living.