When would I have to pay for care?

(Relates to England only)

If you own more than the upper limit, currently £23,250 (which includes your property, any cash or savings and stocks and shares) you will be expected to fund the full cost of your care fees. You would not receive any financial help from your local council until your assets have been reduced to this upper limit.

If you have less than the upper savings limit or, when your savings drop to this limit, the local council will then assess your ability to pay based on both your capital and income.

If you have assets below the lower limit currently £14,250 then any contribution you may be required to make towards the cost of your care will be based solely on your income and your assets disregarded.

If you own your own home then its value will usually be counted as capital. There are some important exceptions to this rule.

  • Your property will be disregarded for the first 12 weeks after you enter care permanently.
  • If your husband, wife, unmarried partner or civil partner lives in your home then its value will not be counted as capital.
  • If a relative aged 60 or over lives in your home, its value will be ignored.
  • If a relative under the age of 60 who is incapacitated (i.e. receiving incapacity benefit or disability living allowance) lives there, then again the value will be discounted.
  • If your home is occupied by your estranged or divorced partner and he or she is a lone parent with a dependent child, its value will be ignored.
  • The value of your property should be ignored if you are liable to maintain a child under the age of 16 and your house is the child’s main home. The child must be either a relative of yours or a relative of a member of your family.
  • There are other situations in which the council may ignore the value of your home at their discretion.

You are most at risk of losing your home to care costs when you enter care after owning your home jointly with a spouse, unmarried partner, or civil partner and they have passed away. The full capital value of your home will have passed to you and you will be assessed on the property’s full value along with any formerly joint held assets, such as savings.

For further information on protecting your family home from care costs see here