Paying for care in Wales: Support at home

Most local authorities will charge for care provided in someone’s own home. Find out how the costs are calculated 

Who pays for care and support provided in my own home?

Most local authorities will charge for care provided in your own home. How much you pay will depend on the financial assessment and the cost of the care you need.

The local authority may ask you to contribute a certain amount towards the cost of your care, with the local authority paying the rest. A copy of the local authority’s charging policy should be available online – if not, you can ask for it. It will include limits for savings and income known as ‘thresholds’.

Anyone with savings or income above these amounts is expected to pay for their own care. If your savings or income are below the thresholds, the local authority may contribute to your care.

What happens if my capital is above the threshold?

In Wales, the threshold for people who are being cared for at home is £24,000 (for 2021/22). If you have more than this in your savings or other capital you will pay for your own care and be completely self-funding, regardless of your income. There is a maximum weekly charge for care services at home in Wales of £100 (2021/22).

Importantly, when receiving care at home, the value of your home is disregarded in assessing your contribution towards the cost of this type of care. 

What happens if my capital is below the threshold?

If your capital drops below the threshold, the local authority may start paying for your care, but your income will continue to be used towards it.

If you or your carer feel that your savings have dropped below the limit, or are about to, you should contact the local authority to ask for a review of your finances.

How will my income affect how much I pay?

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act states that any charges for care must be ‘reasonable’, and that people receiving care at home should not be expected to live on an income lower than a ‘basic level’.

People who receive care and support outside a care home will need to pay their daily living and housing-related costs such as rent, food and utilities, so they must be left with enough money to pay for these things.

A person paying for their own care at home must be left with a minimum income amount (MIA). It is not a benefit, but your own money which is protected so you have money available to live on. This amount is made up of:

  • a ‘basic entitlement’ (which will be different for each person depending on their circumstances. Your local authority will be able to tell you how much your entitlement is)
  • a ‘buffer’ of 35% on top of the basic entitlement
  • an extra 10% of the basic entitlement to pay for any ‘disability-related expenditure’.

If your income does not exceed this level – once these amounts are added up, you should not be charged for care at home, unless you have savings or other assets above the threshold.

Do benefits count as income?

Local authorities can decide whether or not to count the following benefits as income in the financial assessment, but they are usually taken fully or partially into account:

  • severe disability premium
  • Disability living allowance
  • Personal independence payment
  • Attendance allowance.

If you are assessed as needing a service during the day, the local authority should not count benefits that you receive for care at night. For example, if you receive higher-rate Attendance allowance because you need supervision at night, the local authority cannot include this extra amount in the financial assessment if they only provide support during the day.

What happens if I refuse to pay for my homecare?

Your local authority has a legal duty to meet your eligible care needs. If you refuse to pay for homecare, the local authority cannot withdraw the service if you are deemed not to have the mental capacity to make this decision. In this case, they would be expected to continue to meet your needs while attempting to resolve the dispute. 

However, if you do have the mental capacity to make this decision, and understand its consequences, the local authority is not required to continue to meet your needs if you refuse to pay.

If you feel you have been charged too much for care by the local authority, you (or your carer) have a right to complain. For information see ‘Paying for care in Wales: complaints and FAQs’.

What is respite care?

Respite care is temporary care for a person with dementia, which also allows carers to take a break for their responsibilities – it could be just a few hours or for a longer period of time.

Types of respite care include day centres, homecare services, residential stays and breaks for carers to attend a social function or appointment. If you are putting together the support plan jointly with your carer and the local authority, you can discuss what options are available.

Who pays for respite care in Wales?

Some respite care services may be provided free of charge by the local authority, but many are means-tested.

The Social Services and Wellbeing (Wales) Act says that respite care is provided as a service for you rather than your carer, so you may have to contribute towards the cost.

The local authority will calculate the cost of the services to be provided and then do a financial assessment to see how much you should contribute to the cost of these services. 

If you are charged for respite care services, you may find some financial help locally. It is worth asking your local authority about local schemes or charitable organisations that can help you pay for respite care. Carer break vouchers may be available. These are sometimes given by local authorities and can be used to pay towards respite care.

Want to know about respite care in Wales?

Respite care is any care arrangement designed to give rest or relief to unpaid carers. Find out about different types of respite care and how to pay for them.

Find out more
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