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Local authority funding for home care

Following a financial assessment, government funding for home care may be given. We explain about the means test thresholds and other rules.
3 min read
In this article
What is the financial assessment? The means test threshold for the financial assessment Rules for couples
Calculating capital and income for care at home What happens next?

What is the financial assessment?

If you have been deemed eligible for care following a needs assessment, a financial assessment (also known as a ‘means test’) is then organised by the local authority. They look at your capital (savings and assets) and income to determine how much you should contribute towards the cost of your care.

The means test threshold for the financial assessment

In England


For the financial year 2018–19, if your total capital is:

  • less than £14,250: you’ll be entitled to maximum support from the local authority. You won’t have to contribute from your capital, but you will be expected to contribute from your income.
  • more than £14,250, but less than £23,250: you have to contribute towards the cost of your care: £1 for every £250 of savings between £14,250 and £23,250. This is known as ‘tariff income’.
  • more than £23,250: you’ll have to pay the full cost of your care. If you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income that is considered to be high enough to cover the cost of your care, you’ll have to pay all of your fees.


For care at home, the value of your home isn’t taken into consideration.

 

If you’re a pensioner, any income contributions you make shouldn’t take your income below the level of the weekly Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG), which is £189 (2018–19). If you’re a member of a couple, your individual MIG is £144.30, or £288.60 if you both need care.

 

Some local authorities add 25% to the MIG and also might pay higher than the basic level, so it’s worth asking your local authority what their policy is to enable you to plan your cash flow.

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.

In Northern Ireland

 

In Northern Ireland, home care is free if you have been assessed by your local authority as needing it. This is regardless of personal circumstances, so no financial assessment is necessary. 

 

In Scotland

 

In Scotland, personal care is free if you’re over 65 years of age and have been assessed by your local authority as needing it. This is regardless of personal circumstances – so no financial assessment is necessary. However, charges still apply to non-personal care services.

 

In Wales

 

If your total capital is:

  • less than £24,000: you’ll be entitled to maximum support from the local authority. You won’t have to contribute from your capital, but you will be expected to contribute from your income.
  • more than £24,000: the most you’ll have to pay in 2018–19 is £60 per week for your care at home.


For care at home, the value of your home isn’t taken into consideration.

 

More detailed information

 

For a full understanding of the obligations set down for the local authorities in England and Wales, see the government’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance, especially Annexes B and C. Scotland has its own version of this guide.

 

Rules for couples

 

A person being assessed for care at home should be treated as an individual. So if you’re married or living with a partner, only the income of the cared-for person can be taken into account in the financial assessment.

 

If you share a savings account with another person (partner, family member or friend), consider splitting it into separate accounts so it’s easier to see who has what for the purposes of the financial assessment and paying for care in general. Be warned, however, that there are rules about ‘giving away’ assets – see gifting assets and property.

Calculating capital and income for care at home

The financial assessment for care at home will look at your capital (savings and assets you own that have monetary value) and income (the regular money you have coming in). 

 

What happens next?

After the financial assessment has been completed, you should be provided with written information from the local authority detailing how the charges are worked out, and what you’ll need to pay.

 

If you:

Further reading

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 ...

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 ...

Equity release for care at home

Equity release can release capital to help pay for care at home, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. We explain the ...

Last updated: 20 Sep 2018