Paying for care at home

How we assess whether you are eligible for funding from Hampshire County Council towards your care at home and how we work out what contribution you need to pay

Who pays for care at home?

There are three ways that care in your home may be paid for:

  • The person being cared for (or their family or a friend) pays the full cost of their care. This is called ‘self-funding’
  • The local authority pays for some or all of the care
  • Sometimes the NHS may also contribute to the cost of all or some of the care

How much does care at home cost?

Some care and support services are provided free of charge, but you may need to pay for other types of services. See our information on which services you might have to pay for.

The cost of care delivered in your home by a home care agency (sometimes called a domiciliary care agency) depends on the level of care you need. As a rough guide, the average cost of a home care agency for a self-funder in the Hampshire County Council area is £20 per hour.*

If your care is arranged by Hampshire County Council, we may agree special rates with home care agencies.

*Source: Which.co.uk

When will Hampshire County Council pay for my care at home?

Before we decide if you are eligible for funding, we will first carry out an assessment of your care needs.

If you have ‘eligible needs’ that qualify for help from us, someone from our Financial Assessments and Benefits (FAB) team will visit you to carry out a financial assessment. This is a detailed process and every case is treated individually. Below is a general guide as to how we work out what you will need to contribute.

If you have:

  • more than £23,250 in assessable savings, you’ll have to pay the full cost of your care. If you have less than £23,250 in capital, but a weekly income that is considered to be high enough to cover the cost of your care, you’ll have to pay all of your fees
  • between £14,250 and £23,250 in assessable savings, we will look at your savings and assessable income to work out what contribution you may have to pay towards your care costs. Savings between £14,250 and £23,250 are assessed as if you have an assumed (or ‘tariff’) income. For every £250 or part of £250 above £14,250, you are treated as if you have an extra £1 a week income
    Example: If you have capital of £14,750 you are treated as having £2 a week income (two lots of £250)
  • less than £14,250 in assessable savings, we will work out if you need to contribute (and how much) from your assessable income

We do not take into account the value of the home you live in.

What is a Personal Budget?

If you are eligible to receive services from us, we will work with you to develop a personal support plan. We then allocate a sum of money which we believe is enough to cover the cost of services to meet your eligible care needs. This is called your Personal Budget.

The financial assessment is to work out how much, if anything, you need to contribute towards your Personal Budget. You will be given a copy of your Personal Budget as a statement. This shows:

  • how much it costs the Council to meet your needs
  • how much you contribute towards the cost of your care, and
  • how much the Council contributes towards the cost of your care

So, for example, if we calculate that it will cost £600 per week to meet your care needs, and your assessed contribution is £250 per week, the Council will contribute £350 per week.

How do you calculate my contribution?

To work out your contribution towards your Personal Budget, we will look at your assessable income and capital and deduct an allowance that the Government sets (the 'minimum income guarantee'*) as well as your share of any housing costs (mortgage, rent and council tax net of any related benefits).

We then consider any disability-related expenditure you have told us about. 95% of the income remaining will be the amount we will ask you to pay towards your care and support.

The maximum amount you will pay is called your Maximum Weekly Contribution (MWC). You will not be asked to pay more than this, unless your financial circumstances change. If your care costs less than your MWC, you will pay the cost of your care. The FAB team member will give you a summary of how your maximum weekly contribution is worked out.

Note that you must advise us if your financial circumstances change. This should include any changes to welfare benefits. It is important that you tell us promptly if this occurs in order to avoid your contribution being backdated.

* The 'minimum income guarantee' is an allowance given in the assessment to cover the costs of everyday living. This allowance is taken from Government guidance and will depend on your age, disability and family circumstances.

What if I disagree with the amount you ask me to pay?

If you feel we have not taken account of something important in the financial assessment, contact the Financial Assessment and Benefits team on 01962 845600. If you feel you have been unfairly charged for any other reason, contact us on 0300 555 1386.

If you still feel the charge is more than you can afford, you may want to seek independent advice from the Society of Later Life Advisors. Phone 0333 2020 454.

What happens if I spend or give away my money or property?

We can still take it into account if we think you did this to avoid paying for care services. This includes giving away property or money to someone else or spending money on expensive possessions, holidays or gifts. In some circumstances, if you give someone your property or money, they may be liable for some or all of the costs of your care (for example, if you gave away an asset or sold an asset for less than its true value). During the financial assessment, you will have to sign a declaration that you haven’t spent or given away your money or property to avoid paying for care services.

Further information about deprivation of assets.

Will I be entitled to any welfare benefits

We will look at the information you give us and tell you if we believe you are entitled to any benefits you are not currently receiving. We can help you make a claim for these benefits if you wish. It is important that you claim any benefits to which you are entitled as this could provide extra money to help contribute towards the cost of your care.

If you have a partner, to complete a full benefits check, we would need to see details of your partner's income and capital.

What is disability-related expenditure?

You may have extra costs due to your disability. We will help you identify any extra costs that can be considered which have not been included in your personal budget. We may ask you to provide proof of these. If you do not want to discuss these costs you do not have to.

The following list will give you an idea of the types of costs we can consider:

  • Extra heating
  • Community alarm system
  • Extra laundry costs
  • Additional costs for clothing, footwear or bedding
  • Medical dietary requirements (for the difference if more expensive than regular products)
  • Approved personal care you wish to continue to pay for privately
  • Private payments for cleaning and domestic help
  • Disability-related equipment
  • Transport costs

What are Direct Payments

You can choose to receive some or all of your Personal Budget as a Direct Payment. This puts you in control of your care. You can employ people, or buy the services or equipment you choose, to provide the help that you need. You can receive Direct Payments as an alternative to having services from the Council.

If you receive a direct payment, you are still be expected to pay your assessed contribution towards services you choose to purchase.

How do I pay for services the Council arranges?

There are a number of different ways to pay, to suit your circumstances and preferences. If you need to pay anything, the FAB team member will ask you which method of payment you want to use. Please use Direct Debit if you possibly can.

Direct debit

You can set up a Fixed Direct Debit with your bank or building society and the amount is automatically deducted from your account every month until you cancel the arrangement. Fixed Direct Debits are a set monthly amount and are normally reviewed annually. If your care or contribution amounts change, the Fixed Direct Debit will not change automatically and you will need to contact us to have the payment amounts updated.

Self-service customer accounts

If you wish to pay your bill by debit or credit card, you can now register to create your own online customer account.

You will be able to:

  • view statements
  • pay an invoice
  • request a copy invoice
  • change your details

Register for a self-service customer account

Other payment options

It is also possible to pay by debit or credit card, by cheque or by using a ‘Pay as you go’ card. Your FAB team member can give you further details.

What if I have to pay the full cost?

If you have to pay for the full cost of your care (e.g. if you have savings over the 'capital threshold'), you can still ask us to make the arrangements for your care at home services.

We can enter into a contract to pay the provider on your behalf and you will need to pay us for all the costs incurred. If we agree to enter into a contract with your care provider, you will be charged a one-off fee of £296 and then £6 per week thereafter to cover our administration costs.

If you are paying the full cost of you care, we always recommend that you seek independent financial advice (see below) and check whether you are entitled to claim any benefits. (e.g. Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment).

When will the NHS pay for care at home?

You may be eligible for funding through a health fund called NHS continuing healthcare. This is care that is arranged and funded solely by the NHS for individuals who are not in hospital but have been assessed as having a ‘primary health need’. There are very high eligibility criteria for this payment.

If you think this may apply to you, you should speak to your doctor or district nurse.

Care charges will apply until any NHS funding is confirmed.

Getting independent financial advice

Paying for care can be an expensive and open-ended commitment. If you are paying the full cost of care yourself, you should seek independent financial advice. Look for a financial adviser with specialist qualifications on advising on the funding of long-term care. They will be able to explain all the costs and risks involved and should be able to help with other things such as setting up a Lasting Power of Attorney.

If you are currently receiving care it is still advisable to seek specialist information and advice as there may be options available to you to protect your interests and those of your family.

  • The Money Advice Service gives advice about all aspects of paying for care. Phone 0300 500 5000
  • The Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA) is a not-for-profit consumer organisation that aims to assist consumers and their families in finding accredited independent financial advisers who understand financial needs in later life. Phone 0333 2020 454

Payment queries

If the Council is paying for some or all of your care and you have any queries in relation to payments, please contact Adults' Health and Care on 0300 555 1386.