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A guide to paying for your care

How we work out how much you are likely to have to contribute towards the cost of your care.

Paying for social care

Unlike the NHS, social care is not free. You will need to pay for some of your care. The amount you pay depends on the level of need and the value of your assets.

You will make a single contribution towards the cost of your care based on an assessment of your financial circumstances. You will then pay whichever is the lesser amount of either:

  • the full cost of the care you require to meet your needs
  • your maximum assessed contribution.

If the assessed contribution is less than the full cost of the care you require to meet your needs, we will fund the difference.

You may choose to purchase additional care at your own expense.

Assessing your eligible needs

Before calculating how much you will pay for your care, we need to work with you to assess your needs. Learn more about needs assessment.

Following your assessment, we will review your care and support needs to determine if you have eligible needs and are therefore entitled to support from us. We use national eligibility criteria set by the government to do this.

The outcome of your needs assessment

If you have eligible needs, we will draw up a care and support plan with you. This will look at what you want to achieve (also known as outcomes) and outline how you want your needs to be met. 

Sometimes, your assessment may show that your eligible needs can be met in other ways. For example, we may give you information and advice or direct you to other services.

Paying towards the cost of your care

To have the financial assessment, you'll need to tell us about your finances and income. You can complete our Online financial assessment form. If you are unable to fill out our online form or do not have anyone who can assist you with it, please get in touch and we can assess you over the telephone, or face-to-face.

When we receive your form and supporting documents, we will write to tell you the outcome of your assessment.

If you know that you will not qualify for financial help, you can decide not to have the assessment.

You do not have to tell us about your finances. However, if you don't, we'll assume that you are prepared to pay the full cost of your care.

We calculate your financial contributions depending on where you receive your care.

The outcome of the financial assessment

If we assess you as being eligible for help, we'll give you a personal budget to make sure your needs are met. You can choose to:

  • buy your own care privately
  • have a direct payment
  • have services that are provided or arranged by Oxfordshire County Council
  • have a mixture of direct payment and services the council can provide or arrange.

If we decide that you're not eligible for a personal budget, you will be expected to pay the full cost of your care.

Changes to your financial or personal circumstances

You must contact the Financial Assessment Team with any changes in your financial or personal circumstances. This is so we can ensure the charges we ask you to pay for your care are correct. 

You will be charged at a later date if you don't tell us about changes that affect your financial circumstances, such as:

  • a change to any benefits you receive
  • a change in property ownership
  • a substantial increase in your savings). 

Giving away or transferring money or assets

You may be thinking of giving away or transferring some of your savings or other assets, including your property (also known as disposal of assets). However, before you do this, contact the Financial Assessment Team to discuss it because we may continue to assess you as if you still own it.

Paying the full cost of your care (self-funding)

If you're not eligible for social care services or a personal budget, we can help you decide how to arrange the help you need.

Learn more about how to find and buy care services.

Personal budgets

You will be entitled to a personal budget if you have eligible needs. This is the sum of money that we believe you need to meet those needs.

You may choose to receive this money in the form of a direct payment or a managed service. Learn more about the services that could form part of your personal budget.


If your top-up stops, we are under no obligation to increase our contribution to cover the difference.

Direct payments

Direct payments are payments that allow you to organise care services yourself (rather than the council organising them for you). They enable you to choose the services that you want to meet your care and support needs and the outcomes set out in your care and support plan.

Direct payments give you more choice, flexibility and control over the care you receive. Some people use the money to buy care from an agency, while others directly employ their own staff.

At the moment, you cannot use a direct payment to pay for placement in a care home. 

Learn more about direct payments.

Managed services

You may decide that direct payment is not appropriate for you and opt to receive what we call a managed service. This means that the council will arrange for you to receive care from one of its approved care providers.

Annual review of your assessed contribution

We will reassess your contribution in April each year to consider changes in your financial circumstances.

We will write to you explaining what your new rate will be. If you think the changes are wrong, we can review your assessment items with you and adjust them as needed.