Paying for care & support at home

Woman reading


You may have concerns about the costs involved in getting care and support at home.

But if you have been assessed as needing care, you will also be assessed to see how much you can afford to pay towards the cost of services, while still having enough money to live on.


The amount that social services departments pay towards care on your behalf varies depending on your local authority, although there are minimum requirements.

When you have an assessment, your needs will be judged to see whether you’re eligible for services under the local eligibility criteria.

If you’re found to have eligible needs the local authority has a duty to meet those needs but can charge for services.

Financial help from social services

If the council has assessed you and you need care and support, you will then be means tested to see how much you need to contribute, if anything, and how much the council will pay towards it.

Personal budgets

Depending on which area you live in, you may have the option of using a personal budget to meet your needs. A personal budget is part of the Government’s new personalisation agenda, which aims to change the way in which services are assessed for, funded and arranged.

Service users should be able to achieve greater choice and control with appropriate support. It includes a certain amount of money being provided depending on the needs identified in your care plan. It's designed to allow you to arrange your care in the way you think is best, with appropriate support.

For more information, download the guide opens link in new window Personal budgets.

Of course, you might prefer social services to arrange your care for you in the traditional way. You should discuss your options with social services before making a decision.

Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance and Personal Independence Payment

If you’re 65 or over and need help with personal care tasks such as eating, getting in and out of bed, going to the toilet, and washing, you might be able to claim Attendance Allowance (AA).

There are two rates of AA, depending how your disability or illness affects you. Social services can take into account whether you are receiving AA when they are assessing you for financial help with community care.

If you’re under 65 and need help with personal care or moving around, you may be eligible for Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP). PIP is a new benefit for adults with a disability or illness that will replace DLA. It is being phased in from April 2013 and will replace DLA for people under 65 by 2018.

DLA is divided into two components. The care component may be taken into account when social services assesses you. For more information, download the factsheet  opens link in new window Disability Living Allowance.

PIP also has two components. The daily living component may be taken into account when social services assesses your care needs. For more information download the factsheet opens link in new window Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

Paying for your own care and support

If you’re not eligible for financial help from the council, you’ll have to fund your own care. However, you are still entitled to advice from your local social services department about how best to meet your needs.

For further detailed information download the following

opens link in new window Download the guide Care at home (PDF 759 KB)

opens link in new window Download the factsheet Local authority assessment for community care services (PDF 337 KB)

opens link in new window Download the factsheet Paying for care and support at home (PDF 231 KB)

opens link in new window Download the factsheet Self-directed support - Direct Payments and Personal Budgets (PDF 361 KB)

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

    View all downloadsHelp 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: