Local Authority support for care


Local Authorities can help with the costs of care – but the financial support they provide is limited.

This support is means tested, so if you have assets or savings over a certain threshold, they will not contribute towards the cost of your care.

Does where I live in the UK affect how much support I could receive?

Yes - the maximum amount you can have in savings and capital and still receive financial support from a Local Authority differs depending on where you are in the UK. The current limits are as follows:

UK local authority capital and savings limits

  Upper limit Lower limit
England £23,250 £14,250
Scotland £26,250 £16,250
Wales £30,000 (residential care)    £24,000 (non-residential care)* N/A
Northern Ireland £23,250 £14,250

 

Even if your savings and capital are less than these thresholds, your Local Authority will still expect you to use whatever income you receive to help cover the costs of your care.

So, if you live in England or Northern Ireland and have total savings and/or capital (including any property, investments or other assets) worth more than £23,250, you will normally be expected to pay your own care costs in full.

If you live in England or Northern Ireland and your savings and capital are worth less than £14,250, your Local Authority will make up any shortfall in the cost of your ‘eligible care’ for you.

However, if you live in England or Northern Ireland with savings and capital between £14,250 and £23,250, a sliding scale of support applies. This is based on you contributing £1 a week for every £250 of your savings/assets between the lower threshold and upper threshold.

Therefore, if you have assets of £20,000, this would mean

£20,000 - £14,250 = a difference of £5,750

(Assets) - (Lower limit) = (Difference)

And then...

£5,750 / £250 = £23

(Difference) / (£250) = (Your required contribution per week)

So as a result, this would mean that you would need to contribute £23 per week towards the cost of your care, in addition to your income. Your Local Authority would then make up any shortfall in the cost of your ‘eligible care’.

In Scotland, it works in the same way, but the limits are slightly different. You may also be entitled to personal care or nursing payments. To qualify for personal care payments, you need to be over 65 and have been assessed as needing care in a care home. You don't neccessarily need to be over 65 to qualify for nursing payments. These payments can be up to: 

  • £171 per week for personal care 
  • £78 per week for nursing care 
  • £249 per week for personal and nursing care.

* In Wales it works slightly differently. It all depends on whether the care that you need is residential or non-residential. If you need residential care and you have assets above £30,000 you will be expected to fund it yourself. But if you need non-residential care, you only need to have assets above £24,000 before you are expected to fund your own care.

I'm not sure if I'm eligible for support - what should I do?

Whatever care you require, and whether or not you can afford to pay for it, your local authority has an obligation to conduct an assessment to determine your needs. If in doubt, the best thing to do is contact your local authority as well as speaking to your financial adviser.

It's also worth mentioning that you may be eligible for benefits from the NHS or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Again, it's best to speak to your financial adviser to find out more.