Your wealth, in the form of money or items with a financial value. For example, savings, investments, land and property.

Council assessments

Even if you’re sure you’ll have to pay for your own care, it’s a good idea to involve the council. You’re entitled to a free care needs assessment from them, which will tell you what your care needs are and look at how they might be met.

It’s useful to ask the council how much they’d normally pay for the amount and type of care you need. This can be helpful to know, for example if you’re negotiating care home fees. It’s also possible that you’ll need the council to pay towards your care in the future, if your capital falls below £23,250 or your income drops. If you’ve chosen a more expensive service or care home than they’d pay for, or one that they don’t think meets your needs, you might have to change care providers or move to a different care home at that point.

The council must make sure that you’re able to get financial information and advice to help you plan and pay for your care.

Getting financial advice

It’s important to get independent financial advice about how to pay for your care. Make sure you choose an adviser who has a specialist qualification in long-term care – a CF8 or CeLTCI qualification. There are various places you can search for an adviser, including The Society of Later Life Advisers and Unbiased. Advisers’ fees vary considerably, so ask up front how much it will cost.

You can also get advice on whether the price you’ve been quoted for care is reasonable.

Financial products

Financial advisers can help you find financial products and services which might be suitable for you – there are a lot of these around and the quality varies considerably, so it’s worth getting advice. A few examples of financial products are:

  • immediate need care fee payment plans – these cover your care costs for life after you’ve paid a large upfront fee
  • deferred care fee payment plans – these work in a similar way to immediate plans, but they pay out from an agreed date in the future, rather than immediately. The longer the deferred period, the lower the cost of the plan
  • equity release plans – these allow you to release money from your home without selling it, but there are usually better options available.

If your finances change

If your income drops or your capital falls below £23,250, you might be eligible for council help. Contact your local council around three months before you think this will happen. Councils will only provide financial help from the date you contact them for help, so if your capital has already dropped below £23,250 before you contact them, you won’t be reimbursed.

If you’re moving to a care home, when your capital falls below £23,250, not including the value of your home or your pension pot, you may be able to make a deferred payment agreement with the council. This means that they will pay your care home fees and claim the money back later, when your property is sold. Our factsheet Care home fees and your property has more details.

Next steps

Read our guide Paying for your care for more information.

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