Councils fail to support self-funding care home residents

Older people self-funding their care in care homes do not receive the same support and help as those funded by the State.

According to research for the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services around 40% of residential care home places and 48% of nursing home places are occupied by self-funders who are largely unsupported by their councils.

The report cites that seeking support from councils’ social service departments was either not considered by families or considered to have a stigma attached to it. Those that did make contact were often just given a list of care homes and nothing more once it was realised that they were self-funding.

FirstStop warns that older people can find themselves in very precarious situations and miss out on all sorts of help by not having an assessment of their needs, to which they are rightfully entitled, and advice and information about financial support available.

Without an assessment of their care needs older people could be moving into accommodation that is not deemed to be suitable for them. If needing to resort to council funding in the future they may find they have to move to different accommodation that suits their needs or the council’s pocket or, they could be missing out on being assessed for continuing care and a care home place fully funded by the NHS.

Significant financial support could be missed such as the twelve week property disregard funding from councils for the first twelve weeks of self-funded care which could be worth around £400 per week, attendance allowance worth £71.40 per week, the right to an interest free loan from the council to help pay for care, exemption from council tax or the right to full funding from the NHS.

Philip Spiers, Acting Chief Executive of FirstStop Advice says “We cannot over emphasise how important it is for older people and their families to receive advice and support at this difficult time. Our advice line can talk people through the whole process, make sure they are receiving all they are rightfully entitled to and warn of any pit falls that could arise in the future. In some cases we can even identify that there are ways that people can continue to live independently in their own homes with the right support and not have to move to a care home. Seeking advice can make the whole situation that much more affordable and tenable and enable older people retain the independence and dignity they deserve.”

The FirstStop free guide ‘Choosing and Paying for a Care Home’ can be invaluable at this difficult time. It includes how to maximise State assistance that is often missed, choosing a care home that meets assessed needs and is affordable over the long-term and understanding the financial products specially designed to meet care costs and where possible preserve capital.

FirstStop Advice can be reached on 0800 377 70 70 or by visiting