Paying for your care and support
While some Adult Social Care Services are provided free, we ask people to contribute something towards the cost of most of the ongoing care and support services they receive.
If you are eligible for help from Adult Social Care Services we will assess your financial situation to see how much you will have to pay, if anything, towards the cost of your care. We won't ask you to pay more than your financial assessment shows you can afford.
If you need long term care and support in a care home, we use national rules to work out whether we can help you towards those costs, and what you would need to pay. There are different rules if you only need a short stay in a care home that are explained below.
We also offer information and advice on any welfare benefits you may be entitled to and help you to apply if you would like us to.
Charges for home care
If you are eligible for ongoing care and support services from the Council we will estimate how much the help you need is likely to cost so you can choose the care and support you want. This is called a Personal Budget.
Depending on your financial situation we may ask you to pay something towards your Personal Budget - how much you are asked to pay is based on an assessment of your savings, income (excluding earnings from paid work) and your expenses.
We won't ever ask you to pay more than your financial assessment shows you can afford - many people on low incomes pay nothing.
If you have savings and investments of more than £23,250 you will need to pay the full cost of your ongoing care and support. We will help you to arrange this with a care provider of your choice, or if you wish, you may ask us to make these arrangements on your behalf. If you ask us to make the arrangements on your behalf we will charge you the full cost of your care and support plus arrangement fees (to cover some of the administration costs of arranging and monitoring your care and support).
(If you have a partner, and the value of your combined savings and investments are less than £46,500, you can ask us to carry out an assessment of your joint financial circumstances - as long as your partner agrees to disclose all his or her personal financial circumstances)
See our leaflet " How much will I pay for my care and support? [235kb]" for information on how we work out how much you have to pay.
For information on the rules we use to carry out the financial assessment, see our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb].
Charges for respite or short term stays in care homes
If your assessment shows that you need a short stay in care home accommodation (for example, to receive respite break or a short unplanned stay) we can arrange this for you and subsidise some of this cost for up to 28 nights during a year.
We will charge you the lower amount of either:
- our Standard Minimal Charge or
- your assessed Maximum Weekly Charge (if any) for non-residential care and support (if you have had a financial assessment)
If you haven't had a financial assessment for non-residential care and support and your respite stay in a care home is not likely to be more than 28 nights during a year, we will apply a 'light touch' financial assessment and charge you the standard minimal charge so you won't need to provide your full financial information. However you can request a financial assessment at any time if you feel you can't afford the standard minimal charge.
If you choose to take your respite care break in a care home that costs more than we would usually pay to meet your needs, you must tell us how you will pay the extra cost (the 'top-up') before we arrange your respite.
If your stay lasts longer than 28 nights, the amount you are expected to pay towards the cost 29th night onwards is based on what you can afford - we will carry out an assessment of your financial situation and use rules set by the Government to work out your weekly charge.
If your savings and investments are more than £23,250 you will be charged the full cost of your care from the 29th night onwards.
You can find more details in our leaflet "Charging for respite and short term care".
You can find the rules we use for charging for respite and short term stays in our " Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb]"
Charges for care home accommodation
If your care assessment shows that your needs are best met in a care home, you may be entitled to financial support from the Council to help with your care home fees.
If you need ongoing care and support from both health and social care professionals as a result of disability, accident or illness you may be eligible for care funded partly or entirely by the NHS. See 'Am I eligible for free health and social care funding from the NHS?'
The financial help you get from the Council is based on an assessment of your personal financial situation. See our leaflet "Meeting your care home costs" to find out how we work out what you must pay.
If you have savings and investments of MORE THAN £23,250 (not including your home)
You will be responsible for the full cost of your care home place.
- If you are eligible for NHS-funded nursing care you don't pay for that part of the cost - the NHS pays that money directly to your care home provider to pay towards the care provided by registered nurses.
- You can claim Attendance Allowance (if you are aged 65+) or Personal Independence Payment if you are aged 18-64)to help towards the full cost of your care home fees.
- We recommend you seek independent financial advice to help you plan your long-term care funding - see "Where can I get information and advice?" below.
- If your savings/investments are likely to fall below the upper limit for financial support in future you should ask your chosen care home if they would accept local-authority funding for your future care at that time.
If the value of your savings and investments are below £23,250
We use national rules set by government to complete a financial assessment of how much you need to pay towards your care home costs. You can find more information on this in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework .
If you choose a more expensive home than we would usually pay to meet your needs, you would need to find a 'third party' (someone other than yourself) to pay the additional costs (a 'top-up'). Tell your Social Care Worker as soon as possible if you have a preferred care home so they can tell you if you need a top-up payment and explain the process for this. You can see our 'Choice of Accommodation and Additional Payments Policy' in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb].
If you own your home - or part of your home
In some situations we will disregard (ignore) the value of your home - for example if your partner lives there - when we work out how much you should pay towards your care home place.
If the value of your property (or your share of property) is not disregarded we may disregard the value of your home for the first 12 weeks - during this time your weekly contribution to your care home costs will be based on your income and savings and investments. Once the 12 Week Disregard period has ended you will be responsible for the full costs of your care home fees.
During the 12 week property disregard you may apply to us for a "Deferred Payment Agreement" - this is a scheme that allows you to delay paying your care home costs during your lifetime (or until your property is sold if this is earlier). Always seek independent financial advice before making a decision about Deferred Payments - you may have other options available to fund your care home costs.
For more information and how to apply see our Deferred Payment Agreements" [158kb] booklet and our Deferred Payments and interim Funding - Schedule of Charges [60kb]
You can see our Deferred Payment Agreements Policy in our Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb].
You can apply using our Deferred Payment Application Form [133kb].
If you can't apply for a Deferred Payment Agreement because you are not yet legally appointed to manage the financial affairs of someone who has lost capacity, but you are applying to become their representative, you may be able to apply for an Interim Funding Arrangement - more information in the Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb]. You can apply using the Interim Funding Application Form [85kb].
Your adult social care assessment identifies the cost of support services, care and equipment required to meet your needs. This amount is called your Personal Budget. You can choose to take some or all of this as a direct payment, so that you can arrange your own care and support. There is flexibility about how you can use your direct payment, as long as it meets the outcomes in your care and support plan.
- You choose who provides your care (any care agency registered with the Care Quality Commission) and what days and times they work
- You decide how your care needs are met, for example, buying a computer to stay connected with friends and family, or paying for someone to support you whilst on holiday
Your financial assessment will tell you whether you will need to pay toward your care and support. If you do, this amount will be deducted from the money we pay and you will need to contribute it. You are responsible for managing the way the money is spent, keeping records, organising the services and care, and arranging for emergencies.
For more information, contact your social worker or care co-ordinator. If you do not have a social worker or care co-ordinator, you can email the team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 0118 937 6710.
Employing a Personal Assistant
Some people choose to employ Personal Assistants [97kb] with their Direct Payment.
Reading Prepaid Card
The easiest and most convenient way to manage Direct Payments is with the Reading Prepaid Card.
The Reading Prepaid Card is a secure chip and pin card linked to a prepaid card account. You can use it in the same way you would use a normal Visa card.
Although it looks like a normal credit or debit card, it is different in that there is a fixed amount of money pre-loaded on to the card account.
We (the Council) will transfer your Personal Budget (less any contribution you are expected to make) into your Reading Prepaid Card account. If you are required to make a contribution towards the cost of your care, you must transfer this money to your account. This can be set up as a simple standing order, as your Prepaid Card account will have a sort code and account number.
Once the money is in your account you can use your card to pay for the services and support agreed in your care and support plan. You can:
- Pay in person or by phone - using your chip and pin card
- Transfer money to your service providers online
- Set up Direct Debits or Standing Orders, if you have regular payments
Money is debited from your card by 17:30 on the day you spend it. There is no overdraft facility on the card so you can't get into debt.
The main benefits of using the Reading Prepaid Card are that you won't have to set up a separate bank account for your Direct Payment or submit quarterly financial returns to the Council.
Apply for a Reading Prepaid Card
If you would like to use a Reading Prepaid Card, your social care worker will submit an application for it when they set-up or review your Personal Budget Agreement with you (and your representative if you need someone else to manage your Direct Payment on your behalf).
Paying your care charges
We will send you an invoice every four weeks.
The easiest way to pay is by Direct Debit - complete a Direct Debit Mandate [82kb] to set this up. Please note - we will continue to send you an invoice to confirm how much we will take from your account.
You can also pay online using a debit or credit card.
See your invoice for other ways to pay.
NHS funded health and social care services
If you need ongoing care and support from both health and social care professionals as a result of disability, accident or illness you may be eligible for care funded partly or entirely by the NHS. This could be provided in your own home or in a Nursing Home.
You may qualify for NHS funded nursing care if you live in a care home that is registered to provide nursing care and:
- You don't qualify for NHS continuing healthcare, but
- You have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse
The NHS makes those payments directly to your care home to fund care from registered nurses who are usually employed by the care home.
For more information:
- see the NHS leaflet Continuing Healthcare and NHS Funded Nursing Care. [104kb]
- visit NHS Choices - Continuing Healthcare
- speak to your health or social care worker
Charging for care and support
The Care Act 2014 gives councils the power to charge for care and support. We have used the regulations and guidance set by the government to agree our local Care and Support Charging and Financial Assessment Framework [1016kb] which sets out:
Legal Context - the national rules around charging for care and support (the Care Act 2014)
Principles of the framework - what this framework is aiming to achieve
Care and support services provided free of charge - the services we must provide free and which services we have chosen to provide free
Chargeable care and support services - services we charge for (if people can afford to pay)
Administration fees and interest charges for care and support - additional costs for services we can provide to people whose capital assets are over the upper limit
Mental capacity to manage finances - how we carry out financial assessments if you lack mental capacity
Care and support financial assessment policy
Part 1: Information that applies to financial assessments across ALL care and support settings - including how to appeal your financial assessment
Part 2: Financial Assessment and Charging for CARE HOME ACCOMMODATION
Part 3 - Financial Assessment and Charging for NON-RESIDENTIAL care and support
Deferred Payment Agreements Policy - an option to help home owners manage long-term funding to pay for permanent care accommodation (such as a care home)
Interim Funding Policy - when we may provide short-term help to manage care home payments until you have a longer-term arrangement in place
Choice Of Accommodation And Additional Payments Policy - information about choosing more expensive accommodation and top-up payment arrangements
APPENDICES - schedules, forms and examples relating to the Charging Framework
We use the information you give us about your financial position to work out how much (if anything) you would pay towards your care and support costs, to check your welfare benefit entitlements and to support you with welfare benefit applications and claims.
You can see more details about how we use, process, share and store your personal details in our Financial Assessment and Benefits Fair Processing Notice. [73kb].
Impartial advice about care charges and finances
Contact Adult Social Care Services to find out if you are eligible for care and support funded by the Council.
Contact the Financial Assessment and Benefits (FAB) Team for information about financial assessments, Deferred Payments Agreements, or to let us know if your circumstances have changed.
See the Reading Services Guide for details of organisations providing information, advice and support on welfare benefits, money matters and legal issues.
Visit the Money Advice Service - an organisation set up by the Government to provide information and advice about money matters
Finding an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA):
- Independent Financial Advisers (IFA) provide 'regulated' financial advice. This means that they have to hold qualifications allowing them give financial advice and they have to meet standards set by and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). An Independent financial adviser doesn't receive any money for recommending certain financial products - so they are not biased towards recommending a particular financial solution for you.
- Some Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) hold particular qualifications to show that they have knowledge and understanding of the issues to be considered when making decisions about long term care funding. These IFAs are called specialist care-fees advisers. You can find further information on the Money Advice Service website about the qualifications held by specialist care-fee advisers
We work in partnership with My Care, My Home to help people to access independent financial information and advice about paying for care and support. You can contact them directly to discuss your financial options in more detail. This service is free of charge.
My Care My Home can also refer you to other financial advice services,including regulated independent financial advisers who specialise in care-fees advice and are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and accredited by the Society of Later Life Advisers (SOLLA). They always advise you of any charges before referring for regulated independent financial advice.