Paying for Home Care in the UK: A Comprehensive Guide for Families

James Bowdler

27 June, 2023

2 min read

Paying for home care for elderly parents in the UK can be a complex task. Balancing high-quality care, budget, and emotions requires careful planning. You can pay for home care with private funds, governments support, benefits or a mix of all three. Let’s explore the world of home care in the UK, specifically focusing on how to finance it.

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Introduction: Summary of Financial Support Providers for Home Care in the UK

In the United Kingdom, there are several ways to fund care. Multiple entities provide financial support to assist people in paying for home care. Below is a comprehensive list, starting with the most important:

So, now that we know what our options are on a high level, let’s go into details in each one.

In-Depth Look at Paying for Home Care in the UK

Each of the following sections provides a moderately in-depth look at your home care funding options. Please skip to those that interest you the most.

Private Financing

If you don’t qualify for support from the council, NHS, or charities, you will have to pay for home care with private funding.

This could involve tapping into various financial resources. There is a silver lining; you have more choice and control:

  1. Savings and Investments: Your personal financial reservoir. Using your savings or investments can be one way to privately finance your care. However, as this can significantly impact your future financial health, you will want to ensure that you are spending at a level you are comfortable with.
  2. Pensions: Some individuals tap into their pension funds to cover their care costs. However, this can potentially trigger tax implications. Therefore, understanding these implications thoroughly, perhaps with the help of a financial advisor, is essential before proceeding with this option.
  3. Equity Release: If you are a homeowner, equity release options are available to you. You can get a reverse mortgage or a home reversion plan to provide you with the necessary funds. However, these financial products are complex, and their implications can be far-reaching. Speak with a financial advisor to fully understand the potential risks and benefits.
  4. Property Downscaling: Selling your home to purchase a less expensive one can unlock funds for your care. However, this decision carries not only financial implications but also emotional and practical ones.
  5. Family Assistance: Your family members might be in a position and willing to contribute to the cost of your care. Family contributions can come in various forms – it could be a financial contribution, or family members could provide some of the care you need.
  6. Insurance Policies: Certain insurance policies, such as long-term care insurance, could help cover home care costs. If you have such a policy, it would be worthwhile to explore this option.
  7. Income from Work: If you’re still part of the workforce, you might direct part or all of your income towards your home care costs.

For a detailed view, see our in-depth article on Privately Financing Home Care in the UK here.

Council Funding or Provision

Your local council may offer financial assistance towards paying for home care. The first step to determine eligibility for this support is a needs assessment. If you are deemed eligible, the council will recommend and arrange home care services, providing financial contributions. This process is referred to as state-funded home care.

Even if you don’t qualify, the council must still tell you about other local help options.

The council will also check your finances. This is called a means test. The goal is to see how much you should pay towards home care costs. The rule is simple: If you have more money, you pay more.

A financial officer will visit you. They will look at your income, pensions, benefits, and savings. But, they don’t need to know about your possessions or insurance policies. Also, your property value doesn’t matter for this test since you’re not moving to a care or nursing home.

Here are the rules about state-funded home care:

  1. More than £23,250: If you have this much, you pay all home care costs.
  2. £14,250 to £23,250: If you have this much, the council will pay part of the costs.
  3. Less than £14,250: If you have this much, the council will pay your care costs. But, they will still check your eligible income.

Are you paying for home care but running out of money? When your funds drop to £23,250, reach out to your council. They could start helping with costs. Find your council online for more information.

What form does this benefit take?

This benefit will be given to you in one of two key ways:

  • Direct payments: Cash paid to you or the person you’re caring for. This gives you the flexibility to choose and pay for your own care services. You could hire a private carer or pay for a spot in a daycare centre, depending on your needs.
  • Care provision: The council arranges and pays for the care services on your behalf. In this case, they will choose the care provider and take care of all the payment and administrative aspects. This might be a better option for those who are uncomfortable managing their own care budget.

How to contact them?

To start this process, contact the Adult Social Services in your council. Ask for a care needs check. This is your first step to getting home care funding. You can find their details on your local council’s website.

See our detailed guide on Accessing Council Funding for Home Care here.

NHS Funding or Provision

NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) is another option for securing funding to help with paying for home care. To be eligible for NHS CHC, you need to show that you have a primary health need, meaning your care needs are predominantly health-related.

The assessment process to determine if you qualify has two stages. The first stage involves a Continuing Healthcare Checklist, completed by a qualified healthcare professional such as a nurse or social worker. This professional will evaluate your care needs across 11 categories to see if you qualify for a full assessment.

You can request this initial assessment anytime by speaking to your doctor or care worker. However, in certain situations, such as significant deterioration in physical or mental health or imminent hospital discharge requiring ongoing care, this process should be automatically initiated.

If the checklist results suggest you could qualify for NHS CHC, you will proceed to the second stage of the process: the Full Assessment. The evaluation is organized by your local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or a third party tasked to perform the assessment on their behalf.

A multidisciplinary team (MDT) consisting of at least two healthcare professionals from different care disciplines will conduct the Full Assessment. They will assess all your care needs and consider their complexity, intensity, unpredictability, and any associated risks.

This comprehensive assessment includes reviewing your care records and a face-to-face meeting with you or your representative. The evidence collected is used to complete the Decision Support Tool (DST), classifying your needs into 12 domains such as cognition, communication, breathing, and skin and tissue viability. Each domain is ranked from ‘No Need’ to ‘High’, ‘Severe’, or ‘Priority’.

The MDT then discusses whether you have a primary health need based on the collected evidence. For more details, visit the official NHS CHC page.

How to contact them?

If you think you might be eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC), you should first discuss this with your doctor or social worker, who can help guide you through the initial checklist assessment. For further information and guidance, you can also contact your local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Contact details for CCGs are to be found on the NHS website.

Charity Funding or Provision

Many charities in the UK provide financial aid, advice, and other forms of support for individuals needing home care. Some of these charities are disease-specific, like the Alzheimer’s Society or Parkinson’s UK, while others, such as Age UK or Carers Trust, provide more general assistance.

To access support from charities, you typically need to contact them directly. They may ask you to demonstrate financial need or show that you fit specific criteria related to the charity’s mission. Some provide small grants for specific needs, while others can help fund larger care needs. Many also offer advice and resources to help you navigate the complex world of care funding.

Each of these providers—local councils, the NHS, and charities—plays a vital role in supporting individuals who need home care in the UK. Accessing this support often starts with understanding the eligibility criteria and then reaching out to the appropriate entities to start the application process.

How to contact them

To contact them, you will need to reach out to the charity directly. The process of applying for funding varies from charity to charity, so the best course of action is to visit their website or contact them via telephone or email for information on how to apply. Here are a few examples:

  • Alzheimer’s Society: Visit their website, or call their helpline at 0333 150 3456 for advice and information on services available.
  • Parkinson’s UK: Reach out via their website or call their free confidential helpline on 0808 800 0303.
  • Age UK: Get in touch through their website, or call their advice line on 0800 678 1602 for further guidance and information.
  • Carers Trust: Visit their website, or contact them through their online form for assistance.

By contacting these entities, you can initiate the process of assessing your eligibility and applying for financial assistance with home care services.

Attendance Allowance: The most common benefits people receive when paying for home care

Attendance Allowance is another way to go about paying for home care and is available to those who require assistance due to a physical and/or mental disability, including learning difficulties. To qualify for Attendance Allowance, you need to meet certain requirements:

  • Must have reached State Pension Age, which is over 65 depending on your date of birth.
  • Require someone to help take care of you or supervise you because of your disability.
  • Need this level of care for at least six months unless you’re terminally ill.
  • This benefit is available to all individuals in the UK, regardless of income or savings.

The rate of Attendance Allowance you receive depends on the level of support you require. Note that this allowance doesn’t cover mobility needs, and an assessment by a healthcare professional might be necessary if it’s unclear how your condition affects you.

  • If frequent help or constant supervision is needed, either during the day or at night, you could receive £68.10 per week.
  • When you require help both during the day and at night, or if you’re terminally ill, you could receive £101.75 per week.
  • When suffering from a terminal illness and your remaining life expectancy is six months or less, there is no qualifying period.

If you meet these criteria, you’re entitled to a higher rate.

Importantly, you don’t need to have a carer in place to claim Attendance Allowance because the allowance is for your needs, not for paying a carer.

How this could impact other benefits

Receiving an Attendance Allowance could also make you eligible for other benefits or increase the amount you receive from existing benefits. These could include Pension Credits, Housing Benefits, and Council Tax Reductions. If you receive an Attendance Allowance, it’s worthwhile investigating these options to maximize your support.

To get an Attendance allowance, contact your local council.

Carers Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a benefit designed to provide financial support for individuals who devote a significant portion of their time to caring for someone with substantial care needs. This benefit aims to financially assist those unable to maintain full-time employment due to their responsibilities as caregivers. It is important to recognise that this will only help in paying for home care, and will not cover all the costs.

To qualify for Carer’s Allowance, several criteria must be fulfilled:

  1. Age Requirement: The caregiver must be at least 16 years old.
  2. Time Commitment: The caregiver must dedicate a minimum of 35 hours each week to providing care. The person receiving care should be eligible for certain benefits themselves, including Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Attendance Allowance, or specific other disability benefits.
  3. Education Status: Education Status: The caregiver cannot participate in full-time education or study for more than 21 hours a week.
  4. Income Limit: The caregiver’s earnings, after deducting taxes, care costs, and certain other expenses, must not surpass £128 per week..
  5. Residency Status: The caregiver must have resided in England, Scotland, or Wales for at least two out of the previous three years, and be in one of these countries when applying.

As of 2023, the rate for Carer’s Allowance stands at £69.70 per week. It’s worth noting that receiving this benefit can impact other benefits that both the caregiver and the person receiving care are eligible for. Moreover, if your income exceeds the Personal Allowance, you may be obligated to pay taxes on it.

How to contact them

Applications for Carer’s Allowance can be made online or via post. You can apply online by visiting the government’s Carer’s Allowance page. For postal applications, you can download the Carer’s Allowance claim form from the same page, fill it out, and mail it to the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

If you’re ineligible for Carer’s Allowance, you may still qualify for Carer’s Credit. Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit that counts towards your State Pension during periods when you’re unable to make contributions due to your caregiving responsibilities.

As with all financial matters, acquiring accurate information and advice is paramount. Consider speaking to a welfare rights advisor or visiting the government’s Carer’s Allowance page for additional information.

Council Tax Discounts and Exemptions

As a carer or someone receiving care, you may qualify for certain Council Tax discounts or exemptions that can help to ease the financial burden of paying for home care.

  • Single Person Discount: If you are a carer living alone or the person you’re caring for lives alone, a Single Person Discount can be applied for, reducing the Council Tax by 25%.
  • Disability Reduction Scheme: If you’re caring for someone with a disability, and modifications have been made to the home to accommodate the person’s needs (such as an extra bathroom or space for wheelchair access), you may qualify for the Council Tax Disability Reduction Scheme. This scheme could potentially lower your Council Tax band and thereby reduce the amount payable.
  • Carer’s Discount: Specifically, for carers, there’s a Council Tax exemption if you provide at least 35 hours per week of care to a person who receives certain benefits. You must live in the same property as the person you’re caring for. The cared-for individual cannot be your spouse, partner, or child under 18. More details can be found on the Council Tax discount page.
  • Severe Mental Impairment: If the person you’re caring for has a severe mental impairment, they are not counted for Council Tax purposes. Consequently, you may receive a discount if the person with a severe mental impairment lives with you and no other adults, or only adults who are also disregarded for Council Tax. An exemption is even possible if the person with a severe mental impairment lives alone. Visit the Council Tax discount page for more information.
  • Live-in Carer Discount: If you have hired a live-in carer, they are usually not counted for Council Tax purposes, and this can reduce the Council Tax bill. Check the Council Tax discount page to understand the conditions for this discount.

How to contact them

For accurate and specific information regarding these discounts or exemptions, contact your local council. They can provide guidance based on your personal circumstances and help with any applications. Each council can vary slightly in their implementation of these rules, so it’s always best to get advice directly from your local authority.

More details about these reductions can be found on the website.

Pension Credit

Pension Credit is an income-related benefit available to individuals who have reached the State Pension age that can help with paying for home care. It comes in two parts: Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit, which can provide additional income to those in need of care and their carers, making the costs associated with home care more manageable.

  • Guarantee Credit: Guarantee Credit is designed to top up your weekly income if it’s below £177.10 (for single people) or £270.30 (for couples). The amount you’ll receive depends on your income, whether you’re single or in a couple, and if you have any additional care needs. This credit can provide substantial financial assistance, particularly for those with a low retirement income.
  • Savings Credit: Savings Credit is an additional payment for individuals who have saved some money towards their retirement, for example through a pension. Note that you’re only eligible for Savings Credit if you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016.
  • Additional Benefits: If you qualify for Pension Credit, you may also be eligible for other benefits. For example, you could receive Council Tax Reduction, be granted higher amounts of Housing Benefits, and become eligible for Cold Weather Payments.
  • Impact on Carers: If you are a carer, Pension Credit can be particularly valuable. You may be eligible for an additional ‘Carer Addition’ if you provide care for someone for at least 35 hours per week and you (or the person you’re caring for) receive Carer’s Allowance. This can lead to an increase in the amount of Pension Credit you receive.

Before applying for Pension Credit, it can be helpful to use the Pension Credit calculator to estimate how much you could get. Remember, each situation is unique, so it’s always a good idea to seek advice from an independent advisor or the Pension Service directly.

How to contact them

Apply for Pension Credit over the phone by calling the Pension Service or by post. You can find more detailed information on how to apply on the Pension Credit eligibility page. Always check your eligibility and take advantage of the benefits available to you. They can provide significant relief when dealing with the costs of care.

For more information, you can check the website.

Disability Benefits

These are various aids available to individuals living with disabilities to help with paying for home care. Think of them as specialist equipment designed to assist you on your voyage. These include:

  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP): For people aged 16 to the State Pension age who need help with some daily living activities or mobility due to a long-term illness or disability. You can learn more about PIP on the website.
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit (IIDB): If you’re ill or disabled as a result of an industrial accident or disease, you might be eligible for this. Consider it compensation for any damage to your ship. You can find further information on the website.
  • Constant Attendance Allowance (CAA): If you need daily care and attention because of a disability, this can be claimed alongside IIDB. This is akin to having a loyal first mate by your side. Find out more on the website.
  • Employment and Support Allowance (ESA): This is for those who have an illness or disability that affects their ability to work. It’s like having a sturdy sail to help you navigate the rough seas. More information is available on the website.


However you end up funding your care, keep those costs down wherever possible. For information on the costs of care and how to get them down check out our guides to the cost of live in care, the cost of overnight care and the cost of hourly care or give us a call, on 0203 369 3624

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James Bowdler


I founded and manage PrimeCarers, a Platform that connects Private Clients with Private Carers near them.

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