Paying for residential and nursing care homes

A residential care home offers personal care to people who are unable to manage at home despite having support, and need much higher levels of security and care. Personal care includes:

  • bathing
  • feeding
  • dressing, and
  • help with moving about

Nursing care homes have qualified nurses on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week to deliver nursing care where a resident requires it.

Find out more about residential and nursing care homes

The law says that where the local authority is funding accommodation, it must allow a person entering residential care to choose which care home they would prefer, within reason.

The council must first agree the home is suitable for your needs and it would not cost more than they would normally pay for a home that would meet those needs.

Your care needs and entitlement will be determined through the needs and financial assessment process. You are free to make your own arrangements if you can afford the long-term cost. However, it is worth asking for the council's financial assessment, because it might fund some or all of your care costs. In the financial assessment, we will take into account income and assets you own.


If your residential or nursing placement is funded by the council, you will be financially assessed to make a contribution towards your placement. Your contribution will be based on your weekly income, savings and investments. The financial assessment will ensure that you are left with a personal allowance of £24.90 per week (2015-2016 allowance) which is set by the government.


Top-ups or third party agreements

A top-up is in addition to the contribution that you pay.

If you choose a care home that costs more than the council usually expects to pay for a person with your needs, you may still be able to live in the care home if a relative or friend is willing and able to pay the difference between what the council pays and the amount the care home charges – this is known as a top-up fee.

You will need to be sure that this arrangement is likely to last or you may have to move again later.

The amount of the top-up is agreed at the time you go into the home, but can be reviewed by the home as long as they give notice. Anyone paying a top-up can ask for a review of the top-up arrangement at any time, and the council can always review the arrangement once a year.

From April 2016 this may change so that a person in a care home - who wants to and can afford to do so - can make payments for their preferred choice of accommodation themselves.

Further information

View print version of paying for residential care:

The deferred payment scheme

The Care Act 2014 introduces the right for you to ask the local authority to lend you the money to pay for your care home fees if you own a property.

Request an assessment or review from adult social care

We can give you information, advice and guidance to help you remain independent. Where you may require additional help we can assess you to see if you have eligible needs or to review your current care package.

How to request an assessment or review

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