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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.

Your local authority will firstly do a care needs assessment to identify what help you need. Then they will carry out a means test to work out how much you have to pay towards your care home fees. Currently, if you have assets of more than £23,250, you will need to pay the full cost of your care. Your home won’t be included in this if a partner or close relative still lives there. Your income is also taken into account.

From April 2015, your local authority must provide a personal budget showing how much they’ve calculated they should pay towards your eligible needs (the ones identified in the care needs assessment).

The Care Act

The Care Act is the biggest change in social care in more than 60 years. It is being introduced in two parts in April 2015 and April 2020. It will change the way the social care system works. There are proposed changes to the way that people fund their care, with a new cap on care costs set at £72,000. There are also changes to the means test. Although these changes were due to be introduced in April 2016, the Government has now announced that it is to delay this timetable to April 2020.

You can find out more about the Care Act changes here.

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.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Information sheets and factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 169 2081