There is a lot to consider when you think about how much you will be paying for home care. It can seem tricky at first.
What you will pay depends on how much care you want or need, and your financial situation.
Here we explore how much you can expect to be paying for home care if you are self funded and what help local authorities and the NHS offer.
Here’s a summary of what we will cover in this article:
- Home care costs and average of between £20 – £30 per hour, depending on where you live in England.
- Live-in home care cost starts at between £900 – £1400 per week.
- Councils can offer financial help if you fulfill their means testing criteria.
- There are some benefits and services that might help cover the cost of paying for home care, such as Attendance Allowance.
What is the hourly cost of paying for home care?
The cost of paying for care at home will vary depending on where you live.
In England, you can expect to pay between £20 and £30 per hour for a domiciliary carer.
Often, depending on your care needs, home care can be cheaper than paying for a residential or nursing care home.
However, be aware that prices of home care can go up on bank holidays, and sometimes on weekends.
Even taking this into account, home care is still usually cheaper than a residential care home.
Which service you require depends on your care needs. You can receive personal care or companionship services, through to more complex or round-the-clock live in home care.
Budgeting for home care
The first thing you should consider in terms of paying for home care is your budget. Planning well can help to avoid the stress of paying for extra services you don’t need or want. Ask yourself the following questions to help in creating your budget:
- What type of care do I need right now?
- Am I likely to need different care in the future?
- How often do I want a carer to visit me?
- Do I have friends and family who can fill in any gaps like shopping or cooking?
- Could I get a cleaner or use home delivery services rather than use a trained carer?
- What is the average hourly cost of a carer in my area?
- How long do I want each care visit to last?
Planning paying for home care
You can create a financial plan for the year if you know how much care you are intending to have.
Let’s start by working out an example:
A person’s current needs are: help with bathing, dressing and some assistance with preparing a meal. This means they will require a couple of hours of care per day.
Two hours of home care per day, costing £25 an hour = £50 per day.
From this point, they can plan for the rest of the year.
Without taking into account increases for weekends and bank holidays, the cost of paying for home care will be:
- £350 per week
- £1,400 per month
- £16,800 a year
Should they require more intensive caring in the future, and decide to remain at home, the cost will increase. This increase will depend on how much more care they decide they want or need.
Cost of live in care
Live-in care is a good option for people with more complex needs, but would still like help and support to remain at home.
This type of care has a different fee structure than regular hourly paid home care.
Live-in care fees are difficult to predict, as the levels of care vary from person to person.
They can start between £900 and £1400 a week depending on what requirements you have. The cost can rise up to £2000 per week for more intensive caring needs.
This also depends on what the care provider charges for live-in care.
Average cost of live-in care
To factor paying for live-in home care into your annual budget, here is our example, using an average fee.
A weekly average cost of £1400 for 24 hours a day live in care, works out to:
- £4,730 per month
- £56,760 a month
Means testing for home care
The structure of the means test looks like this:
If you have capital or savings of over £23,250
You will be self-funded and pay for your own home care.
If you have capital or savings of £14,250 – £23,250
The council will give you financial support, but you will also pay towards your care from your income. You will also pay a tariff income – they will base this on how much you have in savings or capital.
If you have capital or savings of under £14,250
You will pay a contribution from your income, for instance, any pensions you have. In this case, you won’t be required to pay the tariff income.
The council will give you financial support in paying for home care.
Receiving financial help
Once your council has completed the means test, they will let you know what financial help you are eligible to receive.
If they are covering the cost of paying for home care for you, there are now two options:
- The local authority may have preferred providers of home care. They may arrange for these care agencies to provide home care for you.
- However, if you prefer, it is also usually possible to choose your own home care provider. In this case, you can ask the council to give you the direct payment to cover the cost of paying for home care.
The council will also be able to advise you on local providers of home care, even if you are self-funded.
What can I do if my savings run low?
If your care is currently self funded and your savings are running low, what you pay may change.
Your savings need to be above the £23,250 level in order to self fund all of your care.
If they are due to drop below this in the next three months, contact your local authority. You can request that they reassess your finances thanks to this change of circumstance.
When your savings drop below that level, the council may offer help in paying for home care.
If you wait until your savings have dropped below this level, this could cause problems in paying for home care. There may be a wait for funding while they assess your finances.
Will local authorities cover past payments?
Councils will not cover past payments for care, so you may have to pay for services they should be covering in the meantime.
Local authorities will only pay for home care from the date you have got in touch with them.
And it is important that you contact them prior to when you need their help with paying for home care.
You can also check that you are eligible for other financial support.
Additional benefits available
There are many benefits available that people rarely know they can claim.
The council do not count some of these benefits in the means testing assessment for home care funding support, so it is worth checking if you can claim them.
- Attendance allowance
- Personal independence payment
- Industrial injuries disablement
- Constant attendance allowance
- Carers allowance
- Disability premiums
- Pension credit
There’s more here on ‘what benefits can you claim if you have dementia?’.
Can I get any home care for free?
Even if you are self-funded or contributing to the cost of your care, there are some other options.
And you may still get some help, free of charge, such as adaptations in your home.
These might make it easier for you to stay in your own home for longer and the local authority many provide them for free.
They may also provide some small pieces of equipment that benefit your home life. This support is usually capped at £1000.
If they have discharged you from hospital but you still need ongoing care, the NHS might provide this for free.
What is NHS Continuing Healthcare?
NHS Continuing Healthcare (NHS CHCH) is a care offering designed for people with complex or significant long term care needs.
This is available for all adults who need substantial long term care, but will not cover standard personal care needs or dementia home care.
It is not a means tested service, rather it is available to those who meet its care needs criteria. The NHS fully funds the care of those who meet those criteria.
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