Paying for respite care in Wales

Find out about payment or funding arrangements for different respite care options in Wales.

Financial assessment in Wales

Charges for respite care can vary. With local authorities, some respite care services may be provided free of charge. Other services may have a cost that will be charged to the person with dementia. The local authority will assess the person’s financial situation to decide whether or not they should pay, and if so, how much. This is called a ‘financial assessment’.

If after a financial assessment a person with dementia is funding the respite care themselves, they can contact the organisation providing the respite care directly. They should ask questions about availability and cost. You may be able to help them with this, by making sure that they know the questions to ask.

If the local authority is funding the respite care there may be a limit on what they will pay. Their priority will be to meet the person’s needs at the lowest cost. For example if a care home is cheaper than 24-hour live-in care, the local authority is likely to choose this option.

However, any decision cannot be based on cost alone. It must be based on the needs and choices of you and the person you care for, and the local authority must discuss the arrangements with you both.

Care homes

A person who goes into a care home for up to eight weeks is known as a ‘short-term resident’. Short-term residents should be charged as if they are receiving care services in their own home, rather than in a care home. The amount should take account of the person’s circumstances, such as their income and any costs related to their condition (for example extra heating or laundry costs). The local authority must always leave the person with enough money to run their household. There is also a maximum weekly charge they can apply, as with homecare.

If a person goes into a care home for more than eight weeks, they are usually known as a ‘temporary resident’ and their financial assessment for respite care will be different. It will follow similar rules to an assessment for permanent care. However, there are key differences. For example, it will not take into account the person’s main or only home.

Care at home

If respite care is provided in the person’s own home, the local authority can ask the person with dementia to pay a ‘reasonable’ amount toward the cost. As with short-term stays in care homes, the person must be left with enough money to continue to run their home and to live.

A maximum weekly charge applies to homecare, but you won’t necessarily have to pay the maximum amount. It will depend on your savings, income and how much the care costs.

Paying for care and support in Wales

Read more about various ways to pay for respite care, and the amounts you might be expected to pay.

Read more

Direct payments

If the person with dementia has had a care needs assessment, the local authority’s social services team will work out the amount of money that will meet the person’s needs.

A person with dementia who is receiving funds from the local authority may decide to receive this as a direct payment. A direct payment aims to give people greater choice over how they spend their money to meet their needs.

Examples of what a direct payment can be used for include:

  • employing a personal assistant
  • taking a holiday with a carer
  • paying for respite care in a care home (for up to four weeks in any 12-month period).

As a carer, your support needs can be paid for by the local authority as a direct payment, depending on a financial assessment. You could use the direct payment in a number of different ways, such as hiring a paid carer from an agency (for example, to help with shopping trips) or paying for a supported holiday or for education.

Your local authority can give you information on direct payments and eligibility. 

Other types of funding

You, or the person you care for, may be able to get help with respite care funding from a charity, grant-making trust or benevolent fund. Ex-service organisations, as well as organisations that support people who have been employed in certain jobs or industries may also help. Your local carers’ centre can advise on what is available locally.

There may also be national organisations that can help. Turn2Us can give you more information on this – see Other resources.

Carer’s allowance

If you receive Carer’s allowance, your entitlement to this may continue for up to 12 weeks if the person you care for enters respite care. However, it may end sooner than this if the person goes into a care home. This is because, for you to be eligible for Carer’s allowance, the person must be receiving a ‘qualifying benefit’ – either Disability living allowance (DLA), Personal independence payment (PIP) or Attendance allowance (AA).

Any benefits the person receives will stop 28 days after they go into a care home. Your Carer’s allowance will continue until their entitlement to the qualifying benefit they get stops.

You should speak to the Carer’s Allowance Unit to discuss any change of circumstances that’s likely to affect your benefit or if you need more information about Carer’s allowance. Your local Citizens Advice or Age Cymru will be able to help you with this – see Other resources

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