Paying for residential and nursing care

Moving into a care home is a big step. You may have to pay fees for many years.

Some people will be able to get help from Salford City Council with paying the fees. You should contact Adult Social Care before you move.

What are the fees for and why do they seem so expensive?

A care home's fees cover two main areas:

  • Daily living costs such as rent, food and heating, sometimes referred to as board and lodging costs.  
  • Care costs such as helping people wash, dress and go to the toilet, and basic health care costs.

Fees for nursing homes are usually higher because they include the cost of nursing care. The NHS pays for the nursing part of the fees if you have been assessed as needing nursing care.

We strongly recommend that you get independent financial advice if you are thinking of moving to a care home.

What if I make my own arrangements?

If you decide to make your own arrangements without having a social care assessment, the council will not be able to help. You will have to pay all the fees. If you are moving to a nursing home and a health professional has agreed you need nursing care, the NHS should pay the cost for the nursing care but you will have to pay the remainder of the fees to cover your living and other care costs.

Seek advice about finding a suitable care home. You may also want to read 'paying for long term care' at the bottom of this page.

Who can get help with paying the fees?

If you have more than £23,250 in assets, you will need to pay all the residential or nursing home fees yourself (except the cost of any nursing care that you are assessed to need).

Sometimes Adult Social Care can make the arrangement and pay the home for you but you will need to pay back the full amount until the value of your assets fall below £23,250. If you have less than £23,250 in assets as well as a limited income, Salford City Council will usually be able to help with the costs of the home.

How much help can you get?

When you move to a care home, you will probably have to use most of your income to pay the fees. The council will work out what help it can provide:

Tariff (or notional) income from assets is a way of working out an amount we think it's reasonable to expect you to use from your savings to pay towards your care needs. The government tells us how to work this out.

We ignore £14,250 of your assets.

If you have more than £14,250 we assume £1 income per week for every £250 or part of £250 above this amount.

You will need to use most of your income including social security benefits, works or occupational pensions and any tariff income to pay towards the fees. If this is not enough to cover the full cost, we will pay the difference.

We will make sure you keep at least £28.25 each week to spend on things you need, for example toiletries or other personal items. We call this your personal allowance.

What happens if I own my home?

If you are a home owner, we will usually count the value of the home as an asset, as you are no longer living in it. This is likely to take your total assets over the £23,250 threshold and you will have to pay the full residential fees yourself. 

Deferred payment agreements

If you are a home owner but you have less than £23,250 in other assets, we can pay the care home fees until you are ready to repay us. This is called a Deferred payment agreement. You can delay repaying us until you choose to sell your home, or until after your death.

If you spouse, partner or another relative who is over 60 or who is disabled remains living in your home when you go into residential care, we can ignore its value until it becomes available to be sold. You must tell us if anything changes about who is living in your home.

You may choose to pay the full or part-cost of your care from your available income and savings, or a family member may choose to pay some or all of the fees for you. 

There are different financial products such as equity release schemes and insurance policies that may suit your personal circumstances. 

We strongly recommend that you get independent financial advice to help you look at your options for paying for care. 

Financial assessment

Once Adult Social Care has assessed that you need residential or nursing care, we will send you a financial information form to complete. This will ask about your income and assets and from this information, we can work out how much you will need to pay and how much we can help you with the fees.

How will moving affect my welfare benefits?

Going into residential care, even if it is just for a short stay can affect your welfare benefits. You should contact the office that pays your benefits to let them know about your stay. Some benefits stop after four weeks in residential care, for example Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Once these benefits stop, this may mean you can get more help from Salford City Council. If you have a partner still living at home they may be able to claim other benefits. For expert advice on how your benefits will be affected you can contact our Welfare Rights and Debt Advice Service or Citizens Advice Bureaux.

What if the home asks for extra money?

The home should let you know its fees and what they cover when you first move. They should cover all the normal things you need. The home should not ask you for any more money, except for extra things such as your own newspaper or having your hair done. You can use your personal allowance to pay for these things. If the home asks you or your relative for more money you should let us know and we will investigate why they want the extra money from you.

What happens if I choose a more expensive home?

Every year, we set maximum amounts we will pay towards the cost of residential or nursing home care. These depend on the type of home and the type of care you are assessed to need. 

If the council is helping to pay for your home and you choose a home that is more expensive than the maximum we have agreed, then someone other than you or us will have to agree to pay the extra. Salford Council for Voluntary Service (Salford CVS) has a list of charities which may help with the extra fees or you may have a relative who can help. This is called a third party top up agreement and this agreement must be made before you move into the home.

How to pay the fees?

We will pay the full fees to the home and ask you to pay us back the amount we assess you to be able to afford. We will send an invoice every four weeks. If another person or organisation is also helping to pay the fees, eg if you have chosen a more expensive home, we will send them a separate bill for their contribution (their third party top-up).

What if I only go for a short stay or to give my carer a break?

There is a standard weekly charge for short stays that vary depending on your age.

  • If you are aged between 18 and 24 years old, the charge is £103.20 per week
  • If you are aged between 25 and pension credit age, the charge is £120.80 per week
  • If you are over pension credit age, the charge is £172.80 per week

Rehabilitation after a hospital stay

  • If you are staying for rehabilitation you will not have to pay for up to six weeks. 
  • If you need to stay in longer than six weeks you will have to pay the standard weekly charge for each additional week/part week. For people over pension credit age, that is £172.80 per week.

Adult Social Care services in Salford are provided by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. If you are entitled to financial help with the cost of care and support, this will be provided by Salford City Council.

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This page was last updated on 18 September 2023

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