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How does paying for social care work?

Care arranged by a Local Authority is not usually free. Your Local Authority will therefore ask about your finances and income. Find out more about paying for care and support at home.

There are national rules for charging care home fees, which means you will pay the full cost of care if you have more than £23,250 in savings (the limits vary slightly in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

  • If you own your own home and no one else lives in it when you move into a care home, the council is able to take into account the value of the property and use it to pay for care home fees.
  • In charging for home care, most Local Authorities will use the £23,250 savings limit, but it can vary. However, the value of your property will not be taken into account.

Charges for care are complex, and you should seek more detailed advice from the Age UK advice line on 0800 169 6565.

It’s also very important to ensure that you get all of your benefits and entitlements. For example, there is a non means-tested benefit called Attendance Allowance, which provides a weekly income to help meet additional costs that arise from a disability or difficulty with everyday activities.

There are changes coming into effect in April 2020 regarding the means test for providing social care.

Read more about social care funding changes.

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. 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 678 1174

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