Paying for permanent residential care

Woman in a care home laughing

Most people will be expected to pay something towards the costs of their accommodation and personal care from their income and capital.

If the local authority is involved in arranging your placement, the amount you will have to pay will be worked out via a means test, which is based on nationally set guidelines.

Regardless of whether you move into a care home on a temporary or permanent basis, your local authority will need to carry out a means test. The amount of money you have is irrelevant at this point.

Once the means test has been carried out and you have been told the level of your needs, your income and assets are taken into account. Currently, if you have assets of more than £23,250, you will need to pay the full cost of your care. Your income is also taken into account.

Response to the Dilnot Commission on Care Funding

The Coalition government accepted the Dilnot Commission's recommendations on principle in 2014, but chose different thresholds. These have been incorporated into the Care Bill. From April 2016, the upper capital limit will be £118,000.

This figure sits alongside a new care cost cap of £72,000, above which the state will meet eligible care needs. Progress towards the cap will be measured in a care account.

To find out exactly what this means for you, read our FAQs

Further information 

To find out more about paying for residential care, the means test and care homes in general, download our free information guides and factsheets below.

opens link in new window Paying for permanent residential care factsheet (PDF 258 KB)

opens link in new window Treatment of property in the means test for permanent care home provision factsheet (PDF 199 KB)

opens link in new window Download the Care homes guide (PDF 645 KB) 

We are grateful for the generous support of Dr Naim Dangoor CBE
and the Exilarch's Foundation

Your Age UK

Set your location to see what Age UK offers in your local area.

Age UK Advice:
0800 169 6565

Useful information to download

  • A factsheet explaining the financial help that may be available for older people needing care in a care home.

  • Our introduction to care homes will help you decide if it is the right choice for you, and explains the help available with payments and how to choose a home.

  • View all downloads
    Help with downloads


    What is a download?

    A download is a document (like a research report, a leaflet, or an application form) that can be transferred from our website to your computer. You can download a file, view it on your screen, print it, or save it to your computer.

    What is a PDF?

    PDF stands for ‘portable document format’.

    Most downloads on this website are PDFs. We use this format to ensure that the document looks the same on everyone’s computer (website pages, by contrast, appear differently depending on how people have set their computer up).

    How do I download a PDF?

    Computers use a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDFs. If you try clicking on a link to download a PDF and it doesn’t work, you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader onto your computer.

    How do I install Adobe Acrobat Reader?

    The process is quite straightforward and is free.

    1. Go to
    2. Click ‘Download’.
    3. Wait for the window to offer you the option to ‘Run’, then choose this option.
    4. Click ‘Next’.
    5. Click ‘Install’
    6. Wait for the window to offer you the option to ‘Finish’, then choose this option.

    How do I change a download?

    PDFs cannot be changed.

    How do I print or save a download?

    Downloads will open on your computer in a new browser window.

    Inside this window (below all your web browser menus), there will be a toolbar with options for you to print or save the document.

    Close the browser window to return to the Age UK website.

    Can my screen reader read PDF downloads?

    We have made every effort to make our PDFs accessible to screen readers. Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Reader website to ensure that accessibility options are included in your version of the programme.

    You can use Adobe Reader to read a PDF out loud with the following shortcut keys:

    • Read the document: Shift +Ctrl+Y
    • Read the open page only: Shift +Ctrl+V
    • Read to the end of the document: Shift+Ctrl+B
    • Pause: Shift+Ctrl+C
    • Stop Shift+Ctrl+E

    You can convert a PDF document into a text file for use with other software and hardware such as Braille printers by opening the PDF and choosing ‘Save as text’ from the File menu.

Close window
Display options

Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily

Text size


To see information relating to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales set your preference below: