Paying for care - complaints and FAQs

Read our guidance on making official complaints about paying for care, as well as the most frequently asked questions about care fees. 

Complaints

If you have a complaint, you must try to resolve it with the local authority, NHS body, care home or care company first.

Ask for the local authority, the local NHS clinical commissioning group, or care provider’s complaints procedure. If you can’t resolve your complaint locally, you may be able to take it to the relevant ombudsman. Funding decisions can be complicated to unravel but your complaint may also relate to delays or omission of information. Some of the organisations listed may be able to help.

It can really help to have written records of all your communication. Try to keep written confirmation from your local authority, care provider or NHS body of how agreements have been reached and decisions made.

Frequently asked questions 

I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease almost a year ago, and it has been difficult to adjust to my diagnosis. At the moment I am managing with most aspects of my life with help from my partner, but I worry that in the future we’d struggle to cope and I’d like to be prepared. How can we know what problems might lie ahead for us?

Receiving a diagnosis is difficult and usually unexpected. It takes time to adjust. You are doing the right thing by trying to plan for the future. We have some helpful information to start this process, including The dementia guide. This has information about dementia and the treatments, support and services that are available. You’ll find information about how you can live as well as possible with dementia and about making plans for the future. We also have Planning ahead with information about how the law can help you to plan ahead, and how you can express your preferences for the future.

Can I employ a care worker/support worker directly for my mum – who is self-funding – in her own home?

Yes. You can employ a care worker directly for a relative, and this can enable you to choose who you and your mum want and what they will do and when. You will take on responsibilities as an employer. You will need to consider matters such as an employment contract and paying tax and national insurance, as well as pension enrolment and liability insurance. It’s also important that you consider cover for holidays or periods of sickness. There are local organisations that can help with these matters and guide you through the process. It might be worth talking about your options with your local authority or one of the organisations listed.

If you choose to use a company or homecare provider (including for live-in care) you can still take a greater part in deciding on who will be working with your mum and what is needed. The company will manage the employment including things like cover if the worker is ill or on holiday for example.

My dad is moving into a care home and the local authority will be paying for his care. But he now wants to move to a care home near me in a different local authority. What happens now?

It is possible for him to move to a care home near you. His current local authority will still be responsible for paying his care home fees in the new area, up to the point at which the new local authority assumes responsibility. However, it is only obliged to pay for his care home fees up to the limit set for its own area, or for the area he moves to – whichever is lower.

It is important that the local authority he hopes to move to is told about this beforehand and they will then contact the local authority where he currently lives.

Since your father is moving to another area voluntarily, the new local authority will be responsible for meeting his needs and paying for his care once he is considered to be ‘ordinarily resident’ there. The intention is that once everyone agrees about the move, there will be no gaps in the care when the move takes place. The Care Act gives local authorities guidance on how to arrange such moves and avoid disputes about which local authority is responsible.

My mother owns her home and is moving into a care home. We don’t want to sell the house. Can we let it out instead?

Yes. It is possible to let out a person’s house to avoid selling it to pay for care. Your mother would still be classed as self-funding, because the value of the home is still included in the financial assessment. Therefore, it is important that the rental income covers the cost of care, or – if it does not – that there are sufficient funds to cover the difference or an arrangement made with the local authority.

Also, be aware that income from rental may be taxable and there will be expenses to consider, such as letting and management costs, insurances, maintenance and income loss when the property is not let. If a deferred payment agreement is used so that the house can be rented out, then extra costs related to the deferred payment will be incurred.

The local authority may impose conditions related to the rental arrangements such as tenancy agreements and maintenance.

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