If you have capital (savings and assets) worth more than £23,250, or a weekly income high enough to pay for care home fees, you will not be eligible for local authority funding. If this is the case, you will have to pay for your own care. This is called self-funding.

If you are going to pay your care home fees, you can choose your own residential care home. You might also be able to claim some benefits and allowances to help pay the fees.

Local authorities have a responsibility to:

  • arrange residential care for everyone who is assessed as needing it and is unable to make their own arrangements
  • contribute to the cost of care for people who fit their eligibility criteria and cannot afford to fund themselves

How much choice will you have?

Self-funding a care home is quite common, and around two-fifths of places in independent care homes are funded by private individuals.

If you are self-funding you are free to choose your own care home, which usually means you will have a wider choice than that of people funded by the local authority.

You can view a wide selection of care options using the online directory 'Care Choices'.

Go to Care Choices directory

However, if you need support in finding a care home, the local authority can help to find somewhere suitable.

Independent financial advice

If you are in a position where your finances are over the threshold (£23,250) we would advise that you get some independent financial advice. This will help you make the best decision about how to meet the financial commitments to cover your care needs now and in the future.

Independent advisers can help you to make the most of the assets you have (cash or other) through appropriate planning to cover any long term care costs. One advantage of seeking independent financial advice is that they will have specialist knowledge and will be able to assess your specific circumstances and make sure you are claiming all the benefits and allowances you are entitled to.

Some of the advice will be offered free of charge, but some of the services will have a fee; please make sure you enquire about this when you first contact your chosen adviser.

You can find a reputable and verified financial adviser local to you through The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA).

Paying for Care is a website that offers advice on care costs and planning for care. It also has information about local care fees advisers.

The Money Advice Service was set up by the government to offer impartial financial advice and information to help you make the most of your money.

Other useful help and information can be found through some local and national organisations:

Northamptonshire County Council are working with an organisation which provides paid for and free of charge advice and financial services: My Care, My Home.

Benefits and allowances to help with living expenses

Make sure that you are claiming all of the benefits and allowances you are entitled to, as these can help with living expenses.

People who are funding their own residential care may still be able to claim Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance (care component) - now replaced with the Personal Independence Payment (daily living component).

You are entitled to Income Support if your savings are under £16,000 and you are under pension age providing your income is under the thresholds set by the government.

Pension Credit can be paid if you are pension age and your weekly income is under the levels set by government. There is no ceiling on the amount of capital you may have.

Savings Credit can be paid if you are over 65 and you meet the criteria set by the government.

When savings run out

If you live in a care home for a number of years, your savings will decrease quite rapidly. In time this could bring you below the capital limit, making you eligible for local authority funding.

You should inform the council of your situation at least two months before your savings drop to the upper capital limit of £23,250. We will then arrange to review your care and support needs and also carry out a financial assessment.

Don’t forget that the council will only fund residential care for assessed needs, so even if you are self-funding it is really important to get an assessment before choosing a care home. If you choose a care home that meets the care needs laid out in the care plan, you are more likely to get funding should your situation change in the future - without the upheaval of moving homes. Of course, your needs might change over time, so this is something to consider too.

Request an assessment or review from adult social services

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