You are here:

House of Commons Library

Social care: paying for care home places and domiciliary care (England)

Published Thursday, November 9, 2017

This House of Commons Library briefing paper provides information about the means-test that applies to care home residents and those in other settings (such as those receiving care at home) in need of social care, and provides information on personal budgets.

Jump to full report >>

Since April 2015, new rules have applied on paying for care respect of those who either reside in a care home, or receive domiciliary care (i.e. care at home) and are in need of care and support from their local authority. The rules are set out in the Department of Health’s Care and Support Statutory Guidance (last updated in August 2017).

In summary:

  • everyone whose needs are met by the local authority must have a personal budget detailing how much support they are entitled to;
  • there is a means-test applied to determine if someone is eligible for local authority financial support towards the cost of their care and support costs;
  • where someone is receiving such support, they are expected to contribute their income (except any exempt income); however, they should have a specified amount left over each week for personal spending;
  • if someone in a care home meets the eligibility criteria or if the local authority, at its discretion, otherwise allows, that person can defer paying for their care and support costs through, in effect, a loan, although they may be charged interest (a “deferred payments agreement”);
  • a care home resident’s local authority funding can be “topped-up” to allow them to live in a more expensive care home, although in most cases such top-ups can only be made by a third party (i.e. not the care home resident).

At present, the value of a person’s home is only taken into account in the means-test if they are a care home resident - even then there a number of circumstances where it has to be disregarded (e.g. if a spouse and certain other relatives continues to live it), and local authorities also have a general discretion to choose to disregard it.

In terms of possible reforms, information can be found in the Library briefing paper Social care: Conservative manifesto's commitments on the means-test including the £100,000 limit (England). For background on previous proposals for social care reform, see Social care: Government reviews and policy proposals for paying for care since 1997 (England).

This note applies to England only.

Further information on the current social care funding system can be found in:

Commons Briefing papers SN01911

Author: Tim Jarrett

Topics: Community care, Older people

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.