Paying for care

15. Frequently asked questions

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. However, 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 below who may be able to assist you in this.

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 informed beforehand and they will then contact the local authority where he currently lives.

Since your father is moving to another area voluntarily, once he is considered to be ‘ordinarily resident’ in this new area the new local authority will be responsible for meeting his needs and paying for his care. 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 home. Can we let it out instead?

Yes. It is possible to let out a person’s house to avoid selling it. Your relative 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 will 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, the local authority may impose conditions related to the rental arrangements such as tenancy agreements and maintenance. See ‘Deferred payment agreements’ above.