If the council is paying for some or all of your care, they should give you details of care homes in the area that accept the amount the council are willing to pay. This will be based on your care needs and your finances, which they will assess first. You should only be charged top-up fees if you’ve chosen a care home that is more expensive than your council says it needs to be. The top-up fee covers the difference.
The council has to show you a cheaper alternative that would meet your needs is available before they can charge you top-up fees. If not, the council has to increase the amount it is prepared to pay. You won’t normally be able to pay your own top-up fee; it will normally have to be paid by a friend, relative, charity or similar.