Help with paying for care and support
There are many ways that you can receive care and support: living in your own home, in sheltered accommodation, or in a care home. This section looks at how to pay for care and support, and what help is available.
You can find out more about the types of accommodation available if you need care and support in the housing for people with special requirements section.
Paying for a care home
Will I have to pay care home charges?
If you need to move into a residential care home, your local authority will assess whether you have to make a contribution towards the fees. They will make their decision based on your income, capital and savings. In Wales, from April 2018, if you have more than £40,000 in savings or capital assets (this may include the value of your home – see below) then you will usually have to pay the care home fees in full.
What if I need nursing care?
If you live in a care home that provides nursing care, the National Health Service (NHS) should normally contribute towards the fees to cover the cost of the nursing element. The amount that can be paid may vary according to which health board you are in. For more information see the Money Advice Service.
Will I have to sell my home to pay for care home charges?
If you own your own home and you move into a residential care home permanently, the local authority will ignore the value of your home for the first 12 weeks of your stay. After that, they will usually include the value of your home when working out whether you have to pay care home fees. This means that you are then likely to be over the financial limit and you will have to sell your home. The local authority may place a charge on your home so that they can ensure your fees get paid when you sell your home.
The local authority may decide to charge you interest for this 12 week period.
In certain situations, the local authority will not include the value of your home when working out whether you have to pay fees. They will ignore the value of your home if any of the following people are living in either the whole or part of it:
- your partner (husband, wife, civil partner or someone you live with as though you are married or civil partners)
- a family member or relative who is aged 60 years or over
- a family member or relative who is incapacitated, for example, someone with a disability
- one of your children (including adopted children) who is under 18, and you are liable to maintain
- a former partner who is divorced or estranged from you, but who is a lone parent with a dependent child.
The local authority can also choose to ignore the value of your home if they think it is reasonable to do so, for example, if you have another relative living at home who does not fit into any of the above categories.
For more detailed guides on paying for a care home please go to the Age Cymru website. You can also phone the bilingual Age Cymru helpline on 08000 223 444.
Paying for care at home
Do I have to pay for care at home?
If you are going to get care at home following a needs assessment by social services, you may have to pay for some or all of the help you receive. Whether you have to pay will depend on your local authority. It does not have to charge but, if it does, it will carry out a financial assessment first. This means that they will want to know how much money you have coming in and what savings you have. Certain income cannot be taken into account when deciding how much you should pay, including:
- the mobility component of any Disability Living Allowance
- the mobility component of a Personal Independence Payment
- any Armed Forces Independence Payment
- any payment received under the War Disablement Pension.
In Wales, the most that the council can charge for care and support at home is currently £80 per week and must be an amount that you can reasonably afford to pay.
Financial help from disability benefits
You may be entitled to claim benefits, which can be used to help pay for care at home. Some of the disability benefits available include the following;
- Attendance Allowance – if you are aged 65 or over
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – if you are aged 16-64
- Disability Living Allowance (DLA) – if you are under 16 or claimed DLA as an adult before 8 April 2013
- If someone spends more than 35 hours a week looking after you, they might be entitled to Carer’s Allowance.
Direct payments from social services
If you require care at home, your council may be able to give you money so that you or your carer can choose and arrange your own care services. This is called direct payments.
This arrangement can give you more choice and control over services provided but also brings with it responsibilities for spending the money in line with your care plan.
You can get more information about direct payments from the Money Advice Service.
The Welsh Independent Living Grant
The Independent Living Fund (ILF) provided money to severely disabled people who needed help to stay living in their own home. In July 2015 the ILF was closed by the UK Government but, in Wales, ongoing payments were protected by the Welsh Independent Living Grant (ILG). This meant that if you previously received help from the ILF, your funding continued at the same level. The Welsh ILG is due to close in March 2019, with any future support to be provided by your local council. If this applies to you, the council should be arranging to meet with you to sort out what help you continue to need.
Note that this support is for ongoing applications only, and will not be available to new applicants.
If you need adaptations made to your home so that you can carry on living there, for example a grab rail or a ramp, then you may be able to get a grant to help you with the cost of adaptations. See the section on getting adaptations for more information.
For more detailed guides on paying for care at home please go to the Age Cymru website. You can also phone the bilingual Age Cymru helpline on 08000 223 444.
Paying for housing support services
If you are receiving housing support services, you will either have to pay for them yourself, or if you have a low income you may be able to get help from Supporting People.
What are housing support services?
Housing support services are any form of help that enables you to carry on living independently in your home. These services may be provided by the council, voluntary agencies, or private companies or individuals. Examples of housing support could include having a support worker or a warden in a sheltered housing complex – read our page on housing support to find out more. Housing support services don’t include personal or nursing care services, such as help with getting dressed and bathed.
Do I have to pay for housing support services?
If, following a needs assessment by social services, it is decided that you would benefit from housing support services, the social services department should also carry out an assessment of your financial situation, to see if you can afford to pay for all or some of your housing support services.
If you cannot afford to contribute towards your housing support services or can only pay towards some of the cost, the rest of the cost may be met by Supporting People or the council.
If you currently receive Housing Benefit, you are unlikely to have to pay towards the cost of your support services.
Once your housing support services have been arranged, the council may have a contract with your housing support provider and may be responsible for paying them. If you have to pay for your support services, you may make payments to the council or the service provider.
Can I get direct payments to pay for housing support services?
If you are entitled to funding from Supporting People, you can ask to get it as a direct payment so that you can make your own support arrangements.
Where can I find out more?
If you have any queries about Supporting People, you should contact the Supporting People Team at your local council. You can find contact details on your council’s website. You can also find out more and search for local help on the Dewis Cymru website.