How to fund your long-term care – a beginner’s guide

The options for funding long-term care are varied and can often be complicated. So if you or a loved one need to pay for care at home or in a care home, it’s important to know the facts.

How much will you need to pay for long-term care?

Top tip

People often have to make quick and difficult decisions about their own or a loved one’s care needs. Thinking about the options in advance will help in the long run.

This all depends on your health and mobility, what level of help and support you need and the value of your savings, assets and income.

You could end up paying for all of it, some of it or nothing at all.

NHS Continuing Care

If you have a high level of care needs, say as a result of disability, accident or illness, you may be eligible for free Continuing Care – a package of healthcare that’s arranged and funded solely by the NHS and provided for you at home, or in a hospital, nursing home or hospice. You’re more likely to qualify if you have mostly health-care needs rather than social-care needs, in other words you need a nurse rather than a carer.

If you live in Northern Ireland, Continuing Health Care is provided by your local Health and Social Care Trust.

Local authority funding for long-term care

Your local council (or Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland) may be able to assist you with the costs of residential care or help you stay in your own home by providing support for carers, equipment and specialist services.

Exactly how much funding you receive will depend on:

  • Your individual needs (based on a care-needs assessment)
  • How much you can afford to pay towards the costs of care yourself (based on a financial assessment)

Your local authority or trust can arrange care services for you or you can opt to receive direct payments and organise things yourself.

Self-funding your long-term care

Self-funding?

The biggest fear about funding long-term care is that you’ll be forced to sell your home. Fortunately, there are other options available.

Depending on your circumstances you may not qualify for funding from the NHS or your local authority. Even if you do, the amount you receive may not be enough to completely cover your care costs. If this happens you’ll need to think about how you’re going to top up any contributions or pay for it all yourself.

Claim the benefits you’re entitled to

Regardless of what funding you receive, it’s important to claim any benefits you’re entitled to. Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (which is being replaced by Personal Independence Payment between April 2013 and October 2017) are the most common but there are many more you should be aware of.