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Paying to live in a care home

These pages give you information about getting help from adult’s social care (also called social services). They give information on how to pay for care home costs. This will be useful for people who are getting help with their care home costs from the council and for people who are paying for their own care.
What are the first steps?
If you think you need help from social services you can ask for advice or an assessment. Anyone can ask for an assessment and it does not cost anything. An assessment is a discussion between you (and your partner, friend or other representative if you want) and a member of social care staff. This discussion will help both you and the social care worker to find out what needs you may have and potentially how these needs could most appropriately be met. Even if you are planning on funding the costs of your care yourself, you are still entitled to request an assessment to help you to decide what type of help might be best for you. There are other  organisations that may also  be able to offer help and advice, please use this link to access the list of organisations
Do I have to pay?
The majority of individuals who goes into a care home must contribute something toward the cost of their care, unless they meet certain exemptions such as “continuing health care – CHC eligibility”when these costs would be met by NHS or if the care needs falls within specific sections of the Mental Health Act. Before you consider choosing a care home, it is recommended that you enquire about how much a home costs and under what arrangements, as they may have different costs for different circumstances and how those costs may be broken down.
If you can afford to pay for all of your care, you can make your own arrangements, and this would usually be the case if you have in excess of the current financial ceiling threshold, which currently is £23,250, this is often referred to as being self-funding. If you need help from social services to contribute towards meeting any care costs, then you should contact the Council to seek information, advice or guidance and possibly request an assessment to be undertaken by the council, prior to making any decisions in respect to meeting care needs.
The Council is required to provide you with information to help you to choose a home and could also advise you of other routes available, which could offer independent advice and support in respect to this matter. If the Council have confirmed that they will financially support a placement, the Council have contracts with many homes both within the borough and more widely afield and they will provided you with a list of these homes if required. Most of these homes on the contracted list will have a range of costs that have been agreed between the various homes and the Council. You can choose a different home as long as it can meet your assessed needs and they agree to our fixed costs and contract arrangements ; if the home of your choice does not have a contract with the council, we can send them the relevant paperwork for them to complete. Once this has all been sorted, then it could be possible for this home to be used, subject to terms and conditions.
You can opt to choose a home of your own choosing whose fees are above those that the Council will agree to pay, if you do not wish to accept any of the homes that the Council has advised you has a vacancy and could appropriately accommodate the needs of the assessed individual.  These types of arrangement will usually fall within the Care Act 2014 guidance (Annex A - Choice of accommodation and additional payments) Care act 2014 statutory guidance
Under these circumstances the price difference between what the council would usually pay for the type of home you have chosen and the fee of the preferred home of choice wish to charge would have to be met by someone other than the Council or the individual going into the home.  This is often referred to as a third party top up.
If you move into a home under a preferred home of choice arrangement and the nominated individual can no longer make the third party payments, you need to be aware that the council contributing towards the cost of the care provision may request that the individual moves to a home that can still meet the individual’s needs but costs less. The council may also seek to recover any outstanding debt that is incurred by the council as a result of the failure to continue to meet the agreed third party contribution.  Any decisions in respect to these types of circumstances will be made on an individual basis and will have to take in to consideration a range of matters. (See Care act 2014 statutory guidance)
Working out the cost of your care – if it is shared between you and the council
There are rules about how much you will have to pay toward the cost of your care as a permanent resident within a Residential or Nursing home setting. These rules fall within national legislation found within the Care Act 2014.
To work out how much you will have to contribute to the care being provided, a representative from the Council will arrange to meet with you or another appropriate person to discuss any financial implications and they will be required to gather key financial information in order that a financial assessment can be completed to work out what the required client contribution is.
If you are unclear on some of your financial circumstances, the Financial Assessments team may be able to help you, including liaising with other agencies on your behalf, for example the Department of Work and Pensions.
If you choose not to have the financial assessment or if the assessment shows that you have capital (such as cash, bank/building society accounts, premium bonds, national savings certificates, stocks and shares,or property) above the nationally set limit, you will be asked to pay the full costs of your care. This as indicated earlier is often referred to as self funding or as a self funding arrangement, if this is the case then any benefits an individual is entitled to should continue to be claimed.
The nationally set limit iscurrently £23,250. When your total savings and investments are less than £23,250 social services will consider helping you with regards to eligible care related costs.  If you have savings and investments of less than £23,250, but more than £14,250, this will be taken into account when the required financial assessment is undertaken to determine what your weekly client contribution will be. This is called tariff income and is calculated as follows: £1.00 for every complete £250.00 or part of £250.00 over £14,250.
At the financial assessment, we will ask you to give us some information to help us work out what you potentially should pay. We will need to know:
your personal details
next of kin (spouse, children)
bank statements
information about investments
information about your benefits
information about your pension(s)
Once the financial assessments team have gathered all of the necessary information the council will make payments to the home on your behalf, in accordance with the contracted arrangements and will also let the home know how much you need to pay as your assessed contribution towards your care.
Personal allowance from April 2017/18
(This could change due to legislative changes or at the beginning of a new financial year)
The minimum statutory personal allowance is £24.90 per week.   This is the amount the service user must be left with after the financial assessment has determined the level of client contribution to be made.  Service users aged 65 or over who receive the savings element of pension credit or are above the limit for receiving savings credit will be entitled to an additional maximum allowance of £5.75 per week.
Income used for the purposes of working out client contributions towards their care.
Virtually all income is fully taken into account, such as Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) benefits including attendance allowance, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component, private/occupational pensions, and all other income. For war widow’s pensions, £10 per week will be disregarded and a disregard of 50% of an occupational pension may be allowed for couples where the spouse or civil partner remains at home.
Top ups (Further Information)
If the home you have chosen costs more than social services agreed costs someone else (a relative or friend) will need to pay the additional costs. This is called a third party top up. This is in addition to the assessed contribution that you will be asked to pay. The amount of the top up is agreed at the time that you go into the home. This amount can be reviewed by the home, but they must tell you in advance that they are doing this. The person who has agreed to pay the top up will have to sign an agreement form and will be sent an invoice for the amount every four weeks.
It is important that the person who agrees to pay the third party top up is able to continue making the payments for as long as you are in the home. If the payments are not made, social services may have to ask you to move to a home that still meets your needs, but costs less.  In some instances a first party top up (paid by the individual going into the home) can be made, for example if you ask to be considered to be allowed to receive a Deferred Payment Arrangement. This is where some of your care costs/contributions are agreed to be settled at a later date, which is why it is called a deferred payment. This deferred payment option has to be agreed by the Council, having ascertained that the property equity owned or the alternative assets value would be sufficient to cover any costs incurred by the council for the approved placement. There is more specific information provided below in respect to Deferred Payment Arrangements and some of the key information associated with such arrangements.
Care and Support Statutory Guidance - choice of Accommodation
Please see statutory guidance in relation to Top Ups
Working out the cost of your care – if you are paying the full costs yourself (self-funding)
If you need to go into a care home and your total savings, investments and property if you are the sole owner are worth more than £23,250 you will probably be expected to pay the full care home costs yourself. However, this is not always the case, so check with social services before you make any of your own arrangements with a care home.
It is also important to remember that you can ask social services to help with your care home costs when you have less than £23,250 in savings. As your savings get close to this level, contact your social work office contact your social work office.  
If you are receiving nursing care, you may be able to get help with part of your care costs through NHS Walsall. You may also be able to get your care costs paid by NHS Walsall if you meet their ‘continuing care’ criteria. Contact NHS Walsall for more information.  
You may also be entitled to social security benefits, pension credit and income support. For more information on these benefits contact. You may also be entitled to social security benefits, pension credit and income support. For more information on these benefits contact Walsall Council’s welfare benefits service, equally the Age Concern website can also provide information and advice.
Giving gifts
Whether the council is helping with your care home costs or you are paying the full costs yourself, there is guidance on how much you can give away (either in cash or possessions) once you move into a care home. You are advised to seek independent financial advice.
If you own property and wish to be considered for a Deferred Payment Arrangement
If you own your own home and you want to sell it to help pay for your care home costs, you can arrange something called a deferred payment with the council. If you own your own property or land, the value of the property will not be considered for the first 12 weeks of a permanent stay in a care home but during this period you will be asked to make some contribution to the care home costs. This contribution will be based on your income and capital.
You may enter into a deferred payment agreement once the 12 week period above has been completed. This means that if you have a home to sell that is included in a financial assessment, but you do not want to sell it immediately, you can defer all or part of your contributions. The council’s deferred payments scheme gives more detail on the amount you can defer and the interest you would pay on the loan.   The value of your home will not be included in your financial assessment, but any other income, savings or assets you have will still be included.
You do not always have to sell your home to pay for your care home costs.  There are independent organisations who can advise you on the other options available.
Details on the Councils current deferred payments scheme can be accessed at  New deferred payment agreement
The Council charges for Deferred payments are as follows
A one off set up fee of £400
An annual administration  fee of £300
and a closure fee once of £110
Charges can either be paid as a one off fee or added to the Deferred amount at the relevant interest rate
Contact us
For queries about an assessment, review or your care services contact your social work office.
For any queries about charges for services please contact:
Financial Administration / Social Care Team
Corporate Finance
3rd Floor Civic Centre Zone 3H
Darwall Street
Telephone 01922 655402