Paying for residential or nursing home care

How do we work out what you have to pay?

Each financial assessment is based on your individual circumstances. To determine what this is, we will work out:

Your income

  • Retirement pension
  • Private/occupational pensions
  • Welfare benefits
  • Any other form of income.

Your savings and capital

Most forms of savings and capital will be taken into account (but where savings/capital are jointly owned only your share will be used in the calculation), for example:

  • Building society/bank accounts/post office accounts
  • ISAs
  • Bonds
  • Trust funds
  • National Savings certificates
  • Stocks and shares
  • Cash
  • Premium bonds
  • Property, buildings and land.

If you have less than (or equal to) £14,250 in savings/capital these will not be taken into account. If you have savings/capital over £14,250 and up to £23,250, we will add £1 to your income for every £250 you have.

The treatment of private/occupational pensions, welfare benefits, and property is explained in more detail in the following sections.

Private/occupational pensions

Private/occupational pensions will be treated as income and taken into account in the financial assessment of your weekly contribution, as is your state retirement pension. However, if you are part of a couple, 50% of any private or occupational pension will be disregarded, provided it is paid over to your spouse/partner who is remaining in the family home.

We may also be able to increase the amount of Personal Expenses Allowance you are allowed, so that you can pay money to your spouse/partner if there is financial hardship. To enable us to determine whether there is financial hardship, your spouse/partner will be asked to complete a separate financial circumstances form to the one you are asked to complete. Your spouse/partner does not have to provide these details, but it would not be possible to see if hardship exists if they do not.

Welfare benefits

The benefits you receive will be treated as income in your financial assessment. However, if you get the mobility part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance, this will be completely disregarded in your financial assessment.

Please note: some benefits change when you go into a care home, in particular:

Attendance Allowance and daily living part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living Allowance

  • These are normally only paid for the first 28 days of your stay in a care home (whether for a shortstay or permanently) including any time you have already spent in hospital
  • If you are not receiving these benefits you should make a claim for the first 4 weeks of your stay in the care home
  • However, if you are paying the full cost of your own care or have a Deferred Payment Agreement you can continue to receive these benefits.

Pension Credit

  • If you are part of a couple and one of you goes permanently into a care home, you will each be treated as single people for Pension Credit. (However, you will continue to be treated as a couple if you go into the care home only for a short stay.)
  • If you go into a care home permanently, the housing costs for your former home will no longer be included in your Pension Credit. (For a short stay, housing costs can usually continue to be paid for up to 13 weeks and sometimes for up to 52 weeks.)
  • You will also normally lose any additional amount for severe disability included in your Pension
    Credit, if your Attendance Allowance or daily living part of Personal Independence Payment/Disability Living
    Allowance stops.

Your home

Your home will normally be included as part of your capital in your financial assessment, unless you qualify for a property disregard (see below).

Your home - property disregards

There are circumstances where the value of your home will be disregarded in your financial assessment:

Short stay/replacement care

  • It is planned that you will be going into the care home on a short stay, or replacement care, basis and that
    you will return to your own home in due course

Someone else lives in the property.

If someone else lives in the property, its value will be disregarded if that person is:

  • Your spouse/partner - unless you are estranged or divorced. But if you are estranged/divorced and the spouse/partner is a lone parent, then the disregard will still apply

A relative of yours who is:

  • Aged 60 or over
  • Aged 16 or under and is a child for whom you are responsible
  • Incapacitated (i.e. disabled) - in this case, there are no age limits.

Discretionary disregard

The council has some limited discretion in special circumstances to disregard the value of your home, when it considers it reasonable to do so. This power has to be balanced with the need to ensure that people with assets, are not maintained at public expense. It may be reasonable, for example, to disregard the property when a person who lives there gave up their own home some time ago to look after you, and now has nowhere else to live. Each case will be considered individually and the final decision will be made through a panel process.

Twelve-week property disregard

If you have been assessed as needing a permanent placement in a care home, and your financial assessment shows that you would be responsible for the full weekly fees, because the value of your home means that you have more than £23,250 in savings/capital. You can then apply to have the value of your home disregarded for the first 12 weeks of the placement. This is to give you time either to sell your home, or to raise the money you need to pay for the care in other ways.

Please note: the only part of your finances disregarded is your home. All income and all other savings/capital will be included in your financial assessment.

If you sell your home during the 12-week period, the disregard will end on the date of the sale. At the end of the 12 weeks, you will become responsible for the full weekly fees.

If you wish to apply for the 12-week property disregard, you should complete the form your social worker will give you and return it to:
Slough Borough Council, Social Care Charges, Observatory House, 25 Windsor Road, Slough, SL1 2EL

If you have any questions about the 12-week property disregard, please call Social Care Charges on 01753

Your home - Right to Buy

If you bought your home under a Right to Buy scheme, you may be registered as the joint owner if you needed help from a relative in funding the discounted purchase price. In these circumstances, you will be deemed to own at least the share of the property that represents the amount of the discount earned. For example, if your discount was 40%, you will be deemed to own at least 40% of the property and have capital of 40% of its current value.

Your home - your options if your home is included in your financial assessment

If your home is included in your financial assessment you will be responsible for the full weekly fees.

Selling your home

You may decide that you will sell your home straight away to pay for your care. If you decide to do this, you will need to consider how to pay for your care while the sale is going through.

Deciding not to sell your home

You may decide to raise the money you need in other ways, such as renting out your home to produce more income, taking out a loan (equity release), or asking members of your family if they could contribute to the cost of your care - or a combination of these.

If your savings/capital (excluding your home) are under £23,250, you may be eligible for a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA). For more information, go to the section below on ‘Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)’.

Everyone’s circumstances are different, and we strongly suggest that you and your family take independent financial advice to discuss the options open to you, and to help you decide which solution would be the most effective for you.
More information on obtaining independent financial advice.

Deprivation of assets

If the council considers that you, or someone acting on your behalf, have given away some assets to pay less for your care, you will be treated as still owning the asset and you will be required to pay a higher rate. Examples of assets include money or your house.

Depending on the value of the asset and the remaining assets you hold, this could be the full cost. If you cannot pay these fees, the council will claim the money from the person(s) to whom you have given these assets, and legal action may be taken against yourself and the person in receipt of the assets.

Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA)

Deferred Payment Agreements (DPA) are available to help people who would otherwise have to sell their home, to pay for their care in a care home.

Subject to adequate security and acceptance of the terms and conditions, we will offer a DPA if you meet all three of the following conditions:

  1. you are assessed as needing permanent residential/nursing home care
  2. the value of your savings/capital (excluding your home) is less than (or equal to) £23,250
  3. your home is not disregarded in your financial assessment, e.g. because someone else lives there.

We may also be able to offer a DPA if you are responsible for paying for your own care but wish to use the equity in your home to pay for a more expensive care home placement.

If you qualify for a DPA, you must agree to a legal charge being placed on your property. This will be cleared once the amount you owe the council is paid, usually when your home is sold.
More information on DPAs.