Social care charges

Depending on your circumstances, you may be expected to contribute towards the cost of your care.

Information: Finding independent financial advice on the best way to fund your care.

The Care Act: A new piece of law is replacing all adult social care legislation from April 1, 2015. Find out how it affects you.

Social care, unlike health services, is not free and many users have to contribute to the cost of their care as councils need to collect income locally to help pay for these services.

After your care needs assessment, which works out what support you need, we’ll offer to complete a financial assessment to find out how much of that cost Oxfordshire County Council can cover and how much you will have to pay for yourself.

You do not have to disclose your financial circumstances if you do not want to do so but if that is your choice we will assume that you are able to pay the full cost of your care from your own resources

Changes to social care

Please note that this information is based on current national guidance and Oxfordshire County Council policies.

You may be aware that the Government is making significant changes to social care provision and charging. These changes are set out in the Care Act 2014 and will be implemented  in two stages from April 2015 and 2016.

We are awaiting the final Care Act 2014 guidance from the Department of Health (DOH).

In the meantime, you can find the latest information about Oxfordshire County Council's care charges here:

How much will I have to pay for care?

Depending on the type of care you receive and your financial circumstances you are likely to be asked to pay an assessed contribution. All financial assessments are based on your individual circumstances but the following information shows the overall picture.

Anyone who has capital assets exceeding £23,250 or who does not want to disclose their financial circumstances will normally be expected to pay for the full cost of their care. This amount may include the value of any interest the client has in property but for many people it will be disregarded in accordance with Department of Health guidance.

Clients with more than £14,250 but less than £23,520 capital will be financially assessed to make a contribution towards the cost of their care from their relevant income and a notional contribution from that capital.  In accordance with Department of Health guidance this notional contribution is calculated at £1.00 per week for each £250 of capital exceeding £14,250.

Clients with less than £14,250 capital will be financially assessed only on their relevant income and their capital will be disregarded.

If clients or their representatives are unable to access their capital, Oxfordshire County Council may be able to assist them on a temporary basis. We also have some special schemes to assist people whose capital including the value of a property which they do not want to sell in their lifetime exceeds £23,250.

Services for which we may charge:

  • ALERT service - Telecare alarm equipment for vulnerable and older adults.
  • Care home placements
  • Home support - a range of personal care and support services to help people live in their own homes
  • Respite care - a short stay in a care home or a care home with nursing or other suitable accommodation
  • Supported living - a range of housing and support services for vulnerable adults
  • Extra Care Housing
  • Shared Lives service
  • A weekly shopping service
  • Day services for older people enabling them to live in the community
  • Support for people with dementia aged under 65
  • Support for people with acquired brain injury aged under 65
  • Foot care for older people who are unable to cut their own nails safely
  • A weekly laundry service
  • Learning disability daytime support
  • Transport
  • Community meals.

Services for which we do not charge :

  • Carrying out care needs or financial assessments
  • Information and advice provided directly by the council
  • Services we provide for young people and children aged under 18
  • Services we provide for carers - although we may charge for services we provide to the person you are caring for, depending on their financial circumstances
  • The Oxfordshire Reablement Service, a short-term service designed to help people regain independence following ill-health
  • Provision of equipment into an individual's home to aid mobility
  • Services provided by the Falls Service
  • Flexible care befriending service which supports older people with dementia and/or mental health needs
  • Dementia prevention services.

Who carries out care needs and financial assessments?

Usually social care staff from one of Oxfordshire County Council's locality teams will carry out an assessment of your care needs and the council's Financial Assessments Team will carry out your financial assessment.

However if you are able to fund the full cost of your care from your own resources, the council will refer you to its preferred provider My Care My Home for an assessment of your care needs.

The full service is explained in detail at www.mycaremyhome.co.uk or please ring the freephone number on 0800 731 8470.

The financial assessment

The amount we will ask you to pay towards the cost of your care will depend on your individual circumstances and will be determined by the council's Financial Assessments Team. They will use Government guidelines published by the Department of Health (DOH) on how much you can have in savings or assets before you will be asked to pay for your support. Like all local authorities, we are obliged to follow these rules.

Currently there are two different sets of guidance - one each for Non-residential care and Residential care. Non-residential care charging is based upon the DOH's Fairer Charging policies and Residential care charging is based upon the DOH's Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide (CRAG).

Please note that care in your own home or Extra Care Housing or Supported Living placements are regarded as non-residential care and financially assessed under Fairer Charging.

Fairer Charging

The Financial Assessment team will offer to make an appointment to see you at home to carry out a financial assessment in accordance with national and council guidelines. You can ask a relative or friend to be with you at that appointment.

Under Fairer Charging we financially assess clients by taking into account their income, savings and investments, but usually excluding the value of their home if that is where they normally live and receive care. However we may include the value of your interest in any other property which you own or partly own but where you do not live.

We then make allowances for standard living costs and any extra expenses that arise from disabilities such as extra heating, clothing, gardening and domestic work. These allowances are known as Disability Related Expenses (DREs).

We also offer clients the chance to have an independent check of their benefits to help ensure that they receive all the benefits and allowances to which they are entitled.

Intermediate care or rehabilitation

If your care is arranged as part of a package of rehabilitation or ‘intermediate care’, where you are having short-term therapy or treatment, either following some time in hospital or to avoid having to go into hospital, it will usually be provided free of charge for up to six weeks. After that you may be charged in accordance with the Fairer Charging scheme described above.

Residential care charging - Care in a care home

Most people have to pay something towards the cost of their care in a care home but if their stay is intended to be permanent we will financially assess them under the Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide (CRAG) rules which differ from those which apply to non-residential care. There is usually no free care period unless their care is fully funded by the NHS.

NHS funding usually is provided only for care home residents whose needs have been assessed by the NHS as meeting its eligibility criteria.. For more information see NHS Nursing Care Payments below.

If you are assessed as not eligible for NHS fully funded care but still need residential or nursing care in a care home the council will seek to purchase suitable accommodation and care for you in accordance with its normal prices.

Examples of fees Oxfordshire County Council might pay for your care in a care home

  • Care home with specialist nursing: £640 per week
  • Care home with extensive nursing: £569 per week
  • Residential (extensive specialist): £458 per week

Please note that the rates quoted are those for 2014-15 and include your financially assessed client contributions and, where appropriate, NHS Funded Nursing Care (FNC) contributions.

If you need more information about what these categories of care homes and placements mean, talk to your social worker or contact the Social and Health Care Team.

Additional contributions - Top-ups

Please note that if you choose a care home which is more expensive than the council would normally pay for someone with your assessed care needs, a contributing third party will be needed to pay the difference as the Department of Health does not allow care home residents to use their own resources to pay this difference except in very limited circumstances.

For all others who are assessed as needing care in a care home, the amount you may have to pay towards the cost of your care will depend on how much money you have and will normally come from your relevant income – for example, a private or work pension and some benefits such as State Retirement Pension and Pension Credit – and any capital over a certain amount which may include the value of any property you own or partly own.

Currently, if you have savings and capital assets of more than £23,250, we will expect you to pay the full cost of the care services.

If you have less than £23,250 we will need to financially assess you to find out how much you can contribute towards the cost of your care.

If you have savings and capital assets of more than £23,250 including where appropriate the value of your property but are unable to access them, for example, because you no longer have the capacity to deal with your own affairs and nobody else has legal power to do so we may be able to assist you on a temporary basis.

If you own a property

We may also be able to assist if you are waiting to sell a property to enable you to pay for your care.

NHS Nursing Care payments

The NHS is responsible for meeting the full cost of care in a care home for residents whose ‘primary need’ for being in care is health based. This is called NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC) funding and is often described as ‘fully funded care’.  You can find out more here.

For other residents in care homes who receive nursing care, the NHS may pay a weekly amount to assist with the cost of care. This amount is known as Funded Nursing Care (FNC) and is the same for eligible residents no matter if they are council funded or paying privately for their care.

From 1 April 2014 the standard FNC rate has been £110.89 per week and the NHS will usually arrange to pay it directly to your care home not you personally. Under local arrangements for Oxfordshire care homes, the County Council will pay your FNC to your care home on behalf of the NHS

Financial planning advice for care home fees

Oxfordshire County Council is not licensed to give financial planning advice. However it has made arrangements with its preferred provider My Care My Home to provide this service for people who choose to pay the full cost of their care.

The full service is explained in detail on the website www.mycaremyhome.co.uk or ring the freephone number on 0800 731 8470.

Alternatively, if you are considering using an Independent Financial Adviser for care home fees planning please note that you can find a suitably qualified one by contacting IFA promotions.

Telephone 0800 085 3520 or use the website www.unbiased.co.uk

You can also obtain independent advice and information about fees, benefits, legal and tax issues from Age UK.

Useful contacts

If you want to discuss your individual circumstances in more details, please contact the Financial Assessment Team for more information.

There are a number of groups and organisations - local and national - which provide advice and support to older people. See external links below.

In the meantime, Oxfordshire County Council has revised  its client contributions policy and this information is based on the current policy which became effective from 6 January 2014.  You can view it here.

Last reviewed
07 October 2014
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