Your guide to care and support

How your care is funded

Care and support services in England are not free. Most people have to pay something towards their care, and you may have to pay the whole cost of your care ("self-funding").

Your local council (also called the local authority) may cover some or all of the cost, but the help it gives is "means-tested". That means the amount you are asked to pay depends on how much money you have, and how much care and support you need.

Do you qualify for council funding?

You will have to pay the full cost of your care if you have more than £23,250 in savings. Unless you're going into a care home, this amount does not include the value of your property.

If your savings are less than £23,250 but more than £14,250 then your local council will pay for your care, but you will have to contribute £1 to the fees for every £250 of savings you have.

If you have less than £14,250 in savings, your care will be fully paid for by the council.

How to start getting council funding

Ask your local council for a care needs assessment. If the council decides you need support, it will carry out an assessment of your finances.

This financial assessment ("means-test") will determine if the council will pay for your care, whether you have to contribute to the costs or whether you need to pay the full costs yourself.

Find out about support paid for by your local council.

Alternatives to council funding

NHS care

The NHS is responsible for funding certain types of healthcare equipment you may need. In some situations, the NHS is also responsible for meeting care needs. This is usually when your need is mainly for healthcare rather than social care.

NHS continuing healthcare

If you have very severe and complex health needs, you may qualify for NHS continuing healthcare. This is an ongoing package of care that's fully funded by the NHS.

In some areas of the country, you can arrange your NHS continuing healthcare using a personal health budget – similar to the personal budgets for social care.

NHS-funded nursing care

You may be able to receive NHS-funded nursing care if:

  • you live in a nursing home
  • you don't qualify for NHS continuing healthcare but have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse

The NHS makes a payment directly to the care home to fund your nursing care. NHS-funded nursing care is paid at the rate of £158.16 a week across England.

Read more about NHS-funded nursing care.

NHS care after hospital discharge

If you've been in hospital, the NHS will provide free help for you at home for up to 6 weeks. This is called intermediate care or reablement.

It might include a paid carer visiting you every day to help you get washed and dressed, and prepare meals; or equipment such as grab rails in the bathroom, perch stools for the kitchen or walking aids.

Read more about help after hospital discharge.

Funding from charities

The Family Fund is a government-backed charity that can help with grants if you care for a severely disabled child aged 17 or under.

Apply for a Family Fund grant.

How to get advice on funding your care

The cost of care and support is likely to be a long-term commitment and may be substantial, particularly if you choose to go into a care home or you have care needs at an early age.

If you or a member of the family needs to pay for care at home or in a care home, it's important to understand the alternatives. This makes advice tailored to your individual needs vital.

You can get advice from:

Page last reviewed: 13/04/2018
Next review due: 13/04/2021