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UK Care Home Costs & Fees – Everything you need to know

I’m sure you will agree that when it comes to finding out about the costs of care home, it can get very confusing!

On this page, this is the help you will find:care home fees

– The top 3 things that impact care home fees

– A calculator to help you work out your care home costs, no matter where in the UK you live

– We answer the 17 top questions you will have about your nursing home fees

– Alternatives to care homes that you should consider, such as live in care

– The 4 things you need to do but may not yet have thought about

A bit of background to care home fees

UK care home fees, sometimes called nursing home fees, are something that you need to calculate carefully, particularly as the costs can be over £1,500 per week!!

We have produced a calculator (below) that will allow you to put in the area of the country where you live and use that to estimate the average cost of care homes over the short, medium and long term.

Once you have done this, we would strongly recommend that you look at the different ways in which you can meet your care home fees.

How much does a care home cost?

There are 3 issues that impact how much a care home costs.  These are:how-much-does-a-care-home-cost

1 – Weekly care home costs

The weekly cost will depend on the facilities offered by the care home and whether you also need nursing care.  Costs can range from, at the lowest end about £350 per week up to some premium care homes which can be over £1,500 per week.

Where you need nursing care, the cost are usually about 20%- 25% higher, as this covers the cost of nursing support.

When looking at the impact of paying for care home fees, you should be clear about the type of support and help you need from your care home, as this will have a direct impact on your costs.

For example, if you are looking for care home fees for someone with dementia, then typically you will need specialist dementia staff on site.  This can then increase the average cost by about 20%.

2 – Where in the country the care home is located

Where you are located in the country will have an impact on your nursing home costs.  In England, typically the costs are higher in the South East compared to the North West.  The average costs are about £2-4,000 per month.

As you will see from the calculator, paying for care homes can mean different things depending on where you are located.

The costs in the calculator are estimates, so you will need to speak directly with the relevant care homes to understand their specific costs.

You can see from the infographic which uses data below compiled by Laing Buisson on what care home costs are in different parts of the country.

cost-of-residential-care-uk

3 – If you are entitled to any financial support towards meeting your care costs

Going in to a care home can be very expensive and if you have financial assets greater than £23,500 then you may not be entitled to any help towards the cost

If you think that you may be eligible the we recommend that you get a care needs and financial assessment to see what help you can get. You can can read more about this in question 1 below.

care-home-costs

Estimate the average cost of care homes using the Green Residential Care Calculator below

RESIDENTIAL CARE CALCULATOR

Please select your current area (by county)

What year will you go into residential care?

How many years will you be in the care home?

Total Cost: £

HOME CARE CALCULATOR

Please select your current area (by county)

What year will you start needing home care?

How many hours a week of care do you need?

How many years will you need home care for?

Total Cost: £

Care Home Fees – The 17 key questions answered about care home costs

Answered below are some of the regular questions we get asked about paying for care home fees.

1 – Will I have to pay for my care home costs?

Your ability to pay for UK care will be determined through a means test called a Care Needs Assessment.  You can read more about that here.

Here is a useful short video that also explains more about what a care needs assessment is and how it works.

In simple terms your property will not be included if you’re arranging care and support at home and may not be included if you live with a partner, child, or a relative who is disabled or over the age of 60.

The cut-off point after which you are responsible for meeting your own care home charges is £23,250.  If your capital and income are above this then it is likely that you will need to pay your own care fees.

If your capital and income is under the savings threshold for care home fees of £23,250 you might get some help from the local authority, but you may still need to pay some fees.

Anyone classed as having ongoing and substantial care needs could be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare funding. For example, Alzheimer’s patients with intense and unpredictable care needs, or someone who is recovering from a stroke in their own home following a period in hospital may be eligible.

In this circumstance, the NHS will meet all your care costs, irrespective of the savings threshold of £23,250.   You can read more about NHS continuing healthcare funding here.

2 – Can I get financial help towards meeting my nursing home fees?

The financial support available will depend on what assets you have, but if you live in England and have savings of more than £23,250 then paying for care will be your responsibility.

At present, any care will be means-tested, which means the more money you have, the less financial support you potentially can receive. However, if you have what is called a continuing care need, then the NHS may be able to fund all your care.

However, to receive this you need to have a ‘primary heath’ need. You can read more about NHS continued health care funding here. If you are looking at care home fees for someone with dementia, it is likely that the NHS wont treat this as a primary need.

Therefore, you may need to fund this yourself and it is about 20% higher then typical nursing home fees.

Here is a really useful video from NHS England on how NHS Care Funding works.

Before you move in to a residential care home, your local authority will undertake a financial assessment, which will look at your income, savings and assets and then calculate how much you will need to contribute towards your residential care home fees.

3 – What is the savings threshold for care home fees?

There is a savings threshold for care home fees in the UK. If you live in either England or Northern Ireland and has capital of less than £14,250 (based on 2018-19 rates), you will be entitled to maximum financial support.

Anyone receiving full funding will have to contribute all of their income (including benefits, which they must claim) to the local authority, except for the personal expense allowance.

If you have between £14,250 and £23,250 in capital, you have to contribute towards your fees.

You will have to pay £1 for every £250 of your savings between £14,250 and £23,250. This is known as ‘tariff income’ and they will also need to contribute all of their income towards the fees, except for the personal expenses allowance.

As explained above, the savings threshold for care home fees is something you need to consider. if you have capital of more than the savings threshold of £23,250, you will need to use that capital to pay the full cost of your care.

If you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income high enough to cover your care home fees, you will be liable for all of your care home fees.

4 – Is the savings threshold different depending on where I live in the UK?

The savings threshold for 2018/2019 differs depending on which part of the country you live:

England £23,250
Wales £23,750
Scotland £26,250
Northern Ireland £23,250

5 – What savings count towards the £23,250 when assessing for the costs of care homes?

When your local authority assesses you to see if paying for care is your responsibility, it will look at things such as:care home costs

  • The value of your property – although this is excluded if your partner or close relative still lives there
  • The value of any private and State pensions
  • The value of any savings and interest you earn from those savings
  • Some benefits like Pension credit, Attendance allowance or the care component of Disability Living Allowance.

6 – What if I have assets and savings GREATER than £23,250

If you have been assessed as having more than £23,250 in assets then paying for your care will be your responsibility. But there may be some alternative options to consider.

7 – What happens if I give away my assets so I have less than £23,250?

If you give away some of your assets as a gift, say to your children, and then look to claim assistance from your local authority, they may well say that you have done this deliberately to avoid paying for your care costs.

This is called ‘self deprivation of assets’ and the local authority may well undertake your means testing including the value of assets that you gave away.  For more information you can read our article on avoiding care home fees.

This is a complicated area, but doesn’t mean you cannot pass assets to family and friends.  If you are interested in protecting your assets then you may be able to do so by putting them in to a trust.  The three most popular types are:

  • Protective Property Trusts – They allow you to save a portion of your property to pass on to loved ones. They are also known as ‘Property Trust wills’
  • Life Interest Trusts – Allows you to allocate a beneficiary (usually yourself and/or a spouse or wider family member) who then has the legal right to receive income from or use a property named in the trust
  • Interest in Possession Trusts – It’s a trust fund set up to entitle the beneficiary of the trust to any income as soon as it is produced.  They are very similar to Life Interest Trusts.

8 – What if I have assets and savings LESS than £23,250?

If you have been assessed as having less than £23,250 in assets then the costs of your residential care will be met by your local authority.

9 – Will my Local Authority pay all my residential care and nursing costs?

As part of your assessment, your local authority will arrange a suitable residential care or nursing home for you.

If you have been told that the local authority will help pay towards your residential care, then they will also tell you how much they are willing to pay towards the cost of your residential care.

You should remember that this does not mean they will always pay for all your residential and/or nursing care.

Your local authority will have a set amount that they are willing to pay towards to cost of your residential care costs. However, you can choose an alternative care home if they charge the same price.

10 – Can I move in to a more expensive care home than the one my local authority suggests?

Paying for care means that you have some discretion over where you go. You can choose to move in to a residential care or nursing home if it is more expensive than what your local authority will pay. But, you will need to pay the difference in the care home fees.

If your local authority will only pay £500 per week but the home you have chosen is £700 per week, then you will need to arrange for someone to pay the additional £200 in care home fees.

You will not be able to pay this if your assets are less than £23,250. The additional amount is usually paid by a third party (usually a friend or relative) and is called a ‘third party contribution’.

11 – How can I pay for my care home charges?

It is really important that you firstly ensure you are getting all the benefits and credits that you are entitled to.

You then need to ensure that you look at all your assets and savings and think carefully about how you will use them in the most efficient way.

There are typically 5 ways people use to pay for their care home fees.  You can read about each of these options below:

Buy a Care Annuity

Use a deferred payment agreement – This is where your Local Authority effectively pays for your care costs and levies a cost against your home

Use your Savings

Use income from your investments

Rent out your property if you own one

11. Can I use equity release to pay for care home fees

Equity release can be used to pay for home care and live in care costs.  However, it is more complicated if you are moving to a care home.  One option you could investigate is using the proceeds of equity release to buy a care annuity.

Our experience is that once people see what they can receive from equity release, in the form of a tax free lump sum, it often makes them realise that home care or live in care is a better option.  As it is often cheaper, means you get to stay in your home and you receive one to one personalised care.

Click the calculator below to see how much you could get. You can read more about equity release calculators on this site.

care home costs calculator

Here is a useful video that talks about the options that you have about paying for a care home.  A useful watch if you are looking at this for the first time.

12 – Who can help me decide what the best way is to fund my care home fees?

We have an independent directory of financial advisors that are specialists in helping you decide what your best funding option are.

The majority of the advisors in the directory are all members of the Society of Later Life Advisors (SOLLA), which means they are specialists in later life care funding.  Always ensure that any advisor you speak too has this qualification.

SOLLA helps people and their families in finding trusted accredited financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT OUR INDEPENDENT DIRECTORY AND SEARCH FOR ADVISORS IN YOUR LOCAL AREA.

13 – How can I avoid paying care home fees?

As you can see from above, it is hard to avoid paying fees especially where you are taking action solely for the purpose of avoiding care fees.  However, by planning your finances early and efficiently, you can mitigate some of the impact.  Read our section on how to avoid care home fees.

Another option to consider may be getting respite care.  This means that if you are caring for someone, you can can get a carer to come and take your place for a short while.  You can read about respite care and costs on this website.   This could be cheaper then putting someone in a care home full time.

14 – Is there an alternative to going in to a care home?

An alternative option to consider is receiving care in the home from a home care provider. This means that you stay in your own house and you have people come and look after you there.

This is increasingly becoming a popular option as this is much cheaper than going in to care home and allows you to remain in an environment where you are comfortable and familiar.

If you prefer home care and need some with you permanently, then you can look at Live In Care.   This is becoming very popular as it allows someone to be with you 24 hours and also allows you to stay at home. You can read more about live in care here. In our view this type of care will take over from residential care, just as it brings a better experience for the person needing care.

If you do decide that care at home is a better option then there are a number of things that you can do to make your life much more comfortable.  For example, the first thing that people often do is get themselves a more comfortable chair.

There are two main types of chairs that people look at.

The first is a riser recliner.  These are specially designed to help those that struggle getting in and out of chairs and would like some assistance with the process. You can read our guide on how to buy a riser recliner chairs here.

The second are electric recliner chairs.  These are similar to riser recliners in that they are designed for people that may struggle with back pain and want some help when it comes to getting in and out of chairs.  You can read our guide on how to buy an electric recliner chairs here.

15 – Do I have other care funding options available if I receive care at home instead of going to a care home?

Yes. If you are considering receiving home care, then one further funding option to consider would be equity release.  You can read our article here on how equity release works. To be clear, you CANNOT use equity release if you are moving in to a care home.  You can only use it if you intend to stay in your home.

The reason why equity release schemes are popular, and in particular ‘Lifetime Mortgages‘, Drawdown Lifetime Mortgages and Home Reversion Plans, is because they:

a) allow you to stay at home

b) allow you to access cash tax-free from your home

c) allow you to use the money to modify your home to allow you to continue to live comfortably at home

Try the equity release calculator below and see how much money you can get out of your house, using Equity Release, to help pay for your care costs. I think you will be surprised at what you could get……tax-free!

 

care home costs calculator

16 – I thought the government were going to cap the amount I had to pay for my care?

The government intended to introduce a cap on the amount you would have to pay towards your care home fees.

The cap was going to be set at £72,000 and was due to be implemented from April 2016. However, this is now no longer the case and the introduction of the cap has been pushed back to at least 2020. Therefore, if you currently have savings of more than £23,250, you will have to fund all your care home fees.

17 – What other important things should I think about?

The four most important things that you can do are to:

a) Make a Will 

This will help ensure you determine what happens to your assets.  If you don’t make a will the government will decide what happens to your money and assets, and this may not be in line with what you would have wanted.  You can read more about what will writing services offer here.

b) Create a Lasting Power of Attorney 

This will help ensure that should your mental health deteriorate there is someone in place to make decisions on your behalf.

We strongly recommend that you read this section as there are two types of powers of attorney that you need to consider.  These are a health and welfare power of attorney and a property and financial affairs power of attorney.

c) Set up a Funeral Plan

Not always a topic that is at the forefront of your mind, but it is important to think about how your funeral costs will be met.  The average cost for a funeral plan is now in the region of £6,000  You can read more about funeral plans here.

d) Undertake Estate Planning

Thinking about your assets and what you want to happen to these when the time comes is very important.  Preparing for this is called Estate Planning.

You can read more about the things to think about with regards to Estate Planning here.

You may also find our article on avoiding inheritance tax interesting.  There are a number of perfectly legitimate routes that you can undertake if you wish to minimise the tax that is paid to the government upon your death.

In addition, the person that is responsible for dealing with your estate will need to get Probate.  This will therefore allow that individual to carry out your financial and legal wishes.   You can read more about what it is and Probate costs here.

About the author and her expertise

This article was written by Rose Walters a published writer that has written on a range of care related topics.   Rose writes from a lot of personal experience and is able to bring this in to the writing alongside the specialist knowledge she has on these topics.

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