How we work out what you will pay towards residential and nursing care
Update: UK Government adult social care charging reform
Wokingham Borough Council is aware of the government changes to adult social care (ASC) that are due to come into effect in October 2025. For information on what we know so far please visit our changes to ASC finance charging from October 2025 web page.
For further information about the adult social care reforms visit the UK Government website.
Paying towards residential and nursing care
Moving into a residential or nursing home is usually a positive experience, but at times it can be stressful and confusing for everyone.
This page will guide you through the process of choosing your new home and explain how charges will be met and how much you will be expected to pay.
If you already live in a care home and pay your own fees and find that your savings are dwindling, it may be that we can help with funding. You may also benefit from seeking independent financial advice.
We use government guidance to calculate how we charge for care.
Residential charges are applied to customers permanently living in residential or nursing care accommodation.
If you (or someone acting on your behalf) feel that you need help with your care needs please contact the Health Hub on 0300 365 1234. We will discuss your situation with you and give you advice and support. Even if you do not need financial support you can still ask for advice and support to help you make arrangements.
Who can get financial help
If you are a Wokingham resident and are assessed as having eligible needs, you may be entitled to financial help.
More information is available in our Financial assessment web page.
How do you calculate my contribution?
We take into account most income including pensions, benefits, annuities etc. We ignore certain benefits or part of them. We also consider a 'tariff income' if you have savings between £14,250 and £23,250. This gives us your total income. You will be granted a personal allowance of £28.25, which is deducted from the total income. The remaining income left after this will usually be the amount charged.
If you own a property that is taken into account, the calculations will be different. more information on this can be found in our deferred payments page.
Financial assessments and contributions
How do you know my financial position?
We ask you or your financial representative to complete a 'financial assessment form' to provide us with full details of your financial position including your income and capital.
What happens if I refuse a financial assessment?
You do not have to give us information about your financial circumstances. However, if we are unable to assess your financial position then we will be unable to confirm you are eligible for financial assistance. This is likely to mean that you will need to pay the full cost for your placement.
If you refuse a financial assessment but later change your mind, please contact the financial assessment team on 0118 974 6000 (followed by option 5) straight away so that we can arrange one.
What if I have savings or capital above £23,250?
If your savings, investments and assets are more than £23,250 you will have to meet the full cost of your services. We can still help you apply for any benefit you may be entitled to, to help pay for your placement. Just contact the financial assessment team.
My savings are under £23,250, why do I have to contribute?
You are required to pay a contribution from your income such as pensions and benefits plus a ‘tariff income’ on any savings between £14,250 and £23,250. 'Tariff income' is a way of calculating a weekly income from all of your savings and investments. It is not based on the actual interest or dividends you receive.
If we assist with funding, we will pay the difference between what you have been assessed to contribute and the cost of the placement.
For example, if we assessed that you need to contribute £200 per week from your income and the placement was £600, the ‘Council funded’ element would be £400 per week.
How much will I have left once I have paid my share of the costs?
You will have a small personal allowance left to pay for items such as clothing, hairdressing, stamps etc. This amount is set each year by the government (current allowance is £28.25 per week). In addition, in certain circumstances you can keep an element of savings credit and any savings below the lower government threshold (currently £14,250).
Why is the personal allowance only £28.25
The Personal Expense Allowance is a national amount set by the Department of Health.
My partner still lives in our home, what will happen to them?
The value of the property your partner still lives in is not counted as capital in your financial assessment.
If you are married you can transfer 50% of your occupational pension(s). Your partner may need to apply for benefits in their own right to boost their income or help with rent and Council Tax. If you would like advice from us on what their benefit entitlement might be we will need to know their financial position. We can then discuss what benefits they may be able to apply for.
What does 'Deprivation of Assets' mean?
Giving away savings, property or other things to reduce your capital so that you reduce the amount payable for your care is known as ‘deprivation of assets’.
In these circumstances we would treat you as though you still have the capital. The person to whom you gave the assets may become legally liable and we would recover any unpaid charges from that person. This may involve proceedings in the County Court.
What if my financial circumstances change?
You must report any changes to us so that we can recalculate how much you should pay. We need to know if you move home or your financial circumstances change. For example if you start getting welfare benefits, or your investments and savings increase or decrease, you must let us know straight away as this may change your charge. Contact the financial assessment team to arrange a reassessment. If you are unsure what changes to tell us about please contact us for advice.
When will my contribution be reviewed?
We will normally change your contribution annually in April and review it following any changes of circumstances you advise us of.
What if I disagree with the calculation of my contribution?
- First of all, contact the financial assessment officer who has calculated your contribution and explain why you think the charge is wrong. Contact details will be included in the statement you receive following the financial assessment.
- If you are still not satisfied, you can contact the senior financial assessment officer to review the financial assessment.
- If you remain unhappy, you can raise the matter through our corporate complaints process.
Choosing a home
Before making any decisions on moving into a residential or nursing home it is important to consider how much savings you have and how long they will last. Residential or nursing home charges vary considerably, with some homes being much dearer than others. The funding we pay will only cover the 'going rate' of a home. We will not cover charges for homes that are very expensive. If you choose a home that costs more than we recommend and your savings won't cover costs for two years, we advise you to discuss your plans with your assessor before proceeding.
If you already pay for your care and your savings are approaching £23,250, you need to give us enough notice so that an assessment of your care needs and a financial assessment can be arranged. We recommend this is done six months before your savings fall to £23,250.
You can choose a home which costs more than we cover, if you have someone else who is willing to pay the extra. This is known as a 'Third Party Top Up'. The 'Top Up' is the additional amount between how much we agree to pay and how much the care home charges for the placement.
You cannot usually use your own money to pay any ‘Top Up’. This is because you will already be using your available money as a contribution towards the placement. However, if your own home is being taken into account, the rules on 'Top Ups' are different. If this applies to you, find our more information on our deferred payments page.
It is very important to understand that if the third party payments cease for any reason we will review the situation. This could result in you being moved to a home within our cost range.
You can search for care homes in our care and nursing homes section of the website.
Nursing care and NHS funding
What is continuing health care?
NHS continuing healthcare is for individuals who have ongoing health care needs. For someone in a care home, the NHS pays the care home fees, including board and accommodation. NHS continuing healthcare is free, unlike support provided by local authorities which is subject to a financial assessment.
Is there any diagnosis or prognosis that guarantees an automatic right to NHS continuing healthcare?
No. Eligibility for NHS Continuing Healthcare is based on needs, not any specific diagnosis.
Who is eligible for NHS-funded nursing care (FNC)?
You should receive NHS-'FNC' if:
- You are resident within a care home that is registered to provide nursing care; and
- You do not qualify for NHS continuing healthcare but have been assessed as requiring the services of a registered nurse
If you are eligible for NHS-funded nursing care the NHS will arrange for the payment to be made directly to your care home and this payment should be reflected in the care home fee actually charged to you if you pay privately. If you receive financial assistance towards the placement costs the amount charged to the Local Authority by the provider will be net of the 'FNC' element. From April 2023 the weekly 'FNC' rate is £219.71.
What if I am a tenant?
If you are claiming Housing Benefit and /or Council Tax Reduction you must inform our Benefits section if you enter a care home. If you are going into a care home for a short break only, then this benefit can continue for up to a year.
If you are a tenant moving into residential care permanently, leaving a vacant property, it is not advisable to give up your tenancy straight away (in case the placement is not suitable and you wish to return home). Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction can be paid whilst you are assessing the suitability of the care home.
We recommend that the decision to give up your tenancy should be taken at the six week review – when your Care Assessor will meet you and your family to consider whether your care home is suitable for you.
If your care home is suitable, then this is the time to give your landlord notice. You should also inform our Council Tax section, to see if they can exempt your vacant home from Council Tax.
What if I go into hospital after going into a home?
If you are permanently resident in a care home and need to go into hospital, you will still be charged for your place at the home for as long as you continue to receive income and the placement is reserved for you. Your benefits will not normally be reduced until you have been in hospital for 52 weeks.
During the time that you are in hospital, if your circumstances have changed an Assessor will check that your current care home still meets your needs.
Help with managing money
Please see our independent financial advice page.
Adult Social Care Team – assessing and setting up care
Contact details of other organisations are available in our local directory