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Luton Borough Council

Paying for your residential care home or nursing home


Most people will have to pay something towards their residential care or nursing home, but there are exceptions.

Residential care is when you move from your own home into a care home. This might be a residential home or a nursing home (similar to a residential home, but with added nursing care).

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Charges apply to residential and nursing homes and most people will be expected to pay something towards the cost from their pensions or other income, including benefits.

  • your stay in a nursing home is fully paid for by the NHS. This is known as ‘continuing healthcare’ and is for people who have intensive medical or nursing needs
  • you are in a residential or nursing home because you need after-care following a compulsory stay in a mental health hospital
  • in certain circumstances you need a short stay in a nursing or residential home to recover from an illness or to prevent you from going into hospital. This is called ‘reablement’.
If you are in a nursing home, and you have been assessed as needing nursing care but you don’t qualify for continuing healthcare, you may be eligible for NHS-funded healthcare. This is where the NHS will make a payment directly to the care home to fund care from registered nurses. NHS-funded nursing care is paid at a standard rate of £209.19 a week, but this is subject to change.

Care homes and nursing homes all have their own charges. How much of the charge you will be expected to pay will depend on how much money you have. To work this out we need to have an in-depth look at your money by giving you a financial assessment. We will then be able to work out the exact amount you will be expected to contribute.

If you choose to have optional extras, such as outings and hairdressing from your care home, the cost of these are not included in the care home charges and so you would need to pay for these on top of your contribution towards the cost.

The government says that if  you have over the threshold of £23,250 in capital (or your share of joint capital is over £23,250) you will be expected to pay in full for your own care and support - including you care home. We refer to you as a ‘self funder’.

Under the Care Act, the Government plans to introduce a cap on care costs and increase the amount of money you can have before you are expected to pay in full for your care. It was recently announced that the introduction of these policies will be delayed.

If you are a self funder you may still be able to qualify for NHS-funded healthcare, or continuing healthcare.


Read more about how we can still offer help and support to self funders.

Not all your money will form part of our calculations. Certain things will be disregarded.

There are some examples of things that are counted, and things that are disregarded below.

Or you could follow this link to see the full Care and support statutory guidance from the Department of Health. 

These are counted in your assessment
This list is not exhaustive:
  • any savings over £14,250 and below £23,250. We will count £1 for every £250 (or part of £250) you have over £14,250 and include it in our calculations
  • the value of your home or your share of a jointly owned home (see exceptions below)
  • your occupational, works or private pension (we can ignore half of it if you give at least half of it to your spouse or partner who stays at home)
  • the majority of social security benefits
These are examples of what can be disregarded
The list is not exhaustive:
  • your spouse or partner’s income and savings
  • Disability Living Allowance – mobility component
  • Personal Independence Payment – mobility component
  • the first £6.50 of any Savings Credit entitlement

When you go into residential care or a nursing home on a permanent basis the value of your property is treated as a capital asset  so we will look at your share of its value.

The value of your home might not be taken into account if:

  • you are in the care home for a temporary stay
  • your spouse/partner lives in it
  • a relative aged 60 or over lives in it
  • an incapacitated relative lives in it
  • a child under 16 (who is your responsibility) lives in it
  • your ex-partner, who is a lone parent, lives in it with their child

There are other situations where we can ignore the value of your home, but these are on a case-by-case basis.

If we are helping towards the cost of your care, we will make sure you are always left with some money each week to cover your personal expenses. The minimum amount is set by the Government. Since 10 April 2023, the personal expenses allowance is £28.25 per week.

You will have this amount on top of any other money you may have, which was disregarded in your assessment.

Not necessarily. Under the Government’s Care Act, people who pay towards their residential or nursing care home may be eligible for a Deferred Payment Agreement.

This is an arrangement with us which will allow you to use the value of your home to pay some of your care home fees. You can delay paying us back until you choose to sell your home, or if you prefer, when your care package ends.

This means that you won’t have to sell your home during your lifetime to pay for your care home fees.

If you give money or assets away to family or friends, with the intention of reducing the charge for your care services, we can legally consider this to be ‘deprivation of assets’. This means we can work out your charge as if you still have the money you gave away.

If you have capital or savings under £23,250 we’ll complete a means tested financial assessment to determine the amount you’ll need to contribute towards the care.

Yes. Provided that the care home offers the care you need and is willing and able to take you under our usual contract arrangements at charges within our price range.

No. But you could choose a more expensive care home if someone else such as a close relative or a charity agrees to pay the extra after your contribution and our contribution. We call this a ‘third-party top-up’ and we need to make sure that it will be paid throughout your stay at the care home. Follow this link to find out more about third party top ups.

Or, if you have a home to sell, we will consider paying for a more expensive care home if you agree to pay us back when the property is sold.

Yes. When we complete your financial assessment we’ll help you make sense of the financial calculations. Planning ahead or working out the best option can be daunting, so you might also want to seek independent financial advice. Follow this link to find out more about independent financial advice.

© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ