Paying for residential and nursing home care

Calculating your contribution

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The rules for working out your contribution are laid down by law.

You will always be left with an amount of money for your personal use, called your personal expenses allowance.

We work out your contribution using the following legislation:

  • Care Act 2014; Sections 14 and 17 prov​ide a single legal framework for charging for adult social care and support.
  • Section 14 of the Act provides a local authority with the power to charge for meeting needs under sections 18 to 20 of the Act.
  • The ‘Care and Support Statutory Guidance’ (CSSG), issued by the Department of Health in October 2014.

The amount you contribute will depend on how much money you receive every week and how much you have in savings and other assets.

We ignore some types of income and may give you some extra allowances according to your needs.

As the amount that you are asked to contribute is affected by the benefits you should be getting, it is very important that you claim everything you are entitled to.

Most of your income, less an amount for your personal expenses, has to be paid towards the cost of the care home.

Example of a financial assessment

Mrs Smith has been offered a place in a care home whose weekly fees are £600 (this amount is within the weekly limit that we are currently able to pay).

Our contribution will depend on each individual case.  She receives a retirement pension of £150.00 a week and Pension Credit (the guaranteed part not the savings part) of £50.

​Mrs Smith's income


​Minus personal allowance


​Total contribution


If you are married or living with someone as a couple and you alone are going into a care home, we will only assess your financial resources.

If both you and your partner are going into care, we will assess your finances individually to work out how much you will each have to contribute towards the cost of your own care.

Where one of a couple who are married or who have a civil partnership enters a care home, 50% of that persons following income can be passed back to the person remaining at home:

  • Occupational Pension
  • Personal Pension
  • Payment from a retirement Annuity contract.

This means that 50% of the value of that income will be ignored when calculating how much you can pay towards the care home.

Careful consideration should be given before you decide whether to give back 50% of your occupational pension as it may affect your partners entitlement to benefits such as:

  • Pension Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Reduction.

If you are unsure whether this money will leave your partner better off then you should seek advice.

Short stay in a home (temporary placement)

You may need a short stay in a care home. This may be in an emergency.

You will be assessed to pay a contribution towards your care as above.

If you have over £23,250 in capital we will ask you to pay the full cost of your temporary stay.

If you either intend to return to your home or are selling your home to buy another one, we will not count the value of your home as capital.

We can also make an allowance for any on-going expenses you incur in relation to your home such as mortgage payments, utility bills etc. You will need to provide evidence of these expenses as part of your financial assessment.

Provisional charges

If we are unable to complete a financial assessment form with you before you move into the care home, we will charge you at a provisional rate depending on your age as follows:

​Over 60

​£186.10 a week


£75.40 a week​ a week​

Once we have received the financial assessment form, we will assess your finances back dated to the date that you went into the care home.

If you do not complete the financial assessment form, we will have no option but to charge you the full cost of the care home back dated to the date you went in.

Paying your contribution and what happens if you don’t pay

You will usually pay your contribution to the care home on a monthly basis.

In some circumstances we will issue you with a four weekly invoice directly from the council.

There may be a slight delay from the time you go into the care home up to the point that we tell you what your contribution should be.

During this time you should make sure that you keep sufficient funds to be able to meet your contribution towards the cost of the care home once invoices are issued.

This will usually be all of your income less your personal allowance of £28.25.

If you do not pay your contribution we will take recovery action, which may involve legal proceedings and could incur costs for which you may be liable.

If you experience difficulty in paying your bills you should contact the Financial Assessment and Charging Team immediately to discuss your options. (Contact details at the bottom of this page).

There may be occasions where your income stops temporarily and you have insufficient funds to meet the cost of your care or you become physically unable to pay your invoices.

We will be able to work with you to ensure that the debt does not increase and to avoid any unnecessary stress and cost of court action.

Giving away money or assets

You can continue to give some of your capital away, for example as gifts to grandchildren, once you go into a care home. As long as this is what you have always done and the amounts are reasonable.

However you cannot give your capital or assets away, for example, money or your house, to reduce your contribution towards the cost of the care home, either before you go into the care home or during your stay, we will treat you as still owning the assets.

Depending on the value of the asset that you give away and the remaining assets that you hold, this could mean that you will be liable for the full cost of the care home.

If you cannot pay the fees, we will claim the money from the person or people who you gave the money or asset to.

Hospital stays and holidays away from the care home

If you go into hospital and your place in the care home is kept for you until you return then you will have to continue to pay your contribution towards the care home.

However, in certain circumstances, where your stay in hospital is expected to be longer than 52 weeks or your care needs change and we need to find a new care home, we may end the contract with the care home and your contribution will end.

You should discuss this situation with your care manager if the need arises.

If you go on holiday you will still be expected to pay your contribution towards the cost of your care home for the period you are away.

If you think the financial assessment is wrong

If you think the contribution is wrong you should contact the Financial Assessment and Charging Team on 020 3373 1184 and

Annual increases to charges and changes in circumstances

Every April, if you are not a self-funder, we will re-calculate your contribution to take account of changes in:

  • State benefit rates
  • Increased care home costs
  • Any other changes in your financial circumstances.

We will write to you setting out the revised contribution, and you will have the opportunity for a full reassessment if you think our calculation is wrong.

Your income may increase or decrease during the year. You need to tell us if this happens and provide evidence of the new amounts.

If you don’t tell us about an increase in income any additional charges will be backdated to the date you started to receive the extra money.

If your capital is between £14,250 and £23,250 it is very important that you tell us when the amounts change.

This is because the tariff income used to calculate your contribution may have changed. If your capital is under £14,250 you will not need to tell us about any decreases as this will not affect your contribution. You will however need to tell us if it goes above £14,250.