Paying for care in a residential or nursing home

Understanding what you may contribute towards the cost of a residential or nursing home.

Contributing towards the cost of care

Unlike the NHS, social care is not free and you may be expected to contribute towards the cost of the care you receive in a residential or nursing home.

Can I choose to go into a residential or nursing home?

If you are considering entering a residential or nursing home you should first ask us to assess your care needs to ensure that it is appropriate for you. We will not provide funding or other financial assistance if we do not consider a care home placement to be the most appropriate type of care for you.

How much will I have to contribute towards my placement?

Without knowing your full financial information it is difficult to predict your assessed contribution. However, what we can say is that if you have savings or other capital assets over our full cost limit then you would be expected to pay for the full cost of your care and support.

What is the savings limit?

The current savings limit is £23,250.

What happens if I have more than £23,250?

If you have more than £23,250 in savings or other capital assets (for example, property, shares or other relevant assets) you will be expected to pay for the full cost of your care and support.

If you have savings or assets over the limit and are able to deal with your own affairs or have given somebody else legal power to represent you, we will expect you to enter into a private arrangement with your chosen residential/nursing home. The council will also offer to refer you to its preferred provider for financial advice and support. This provider is called My Care My Home.

Will you include the property in which I live in as part of your assessment calculation?

If you own a property we will need to consider it in our financial assessment. There are situations when we may disregard its value from our assessment. These may include if a spouse, or relative aged over 60 continues to live there.

Will I be expected to sell my property straight away to pay for my care?

Not necessarily. There may be other funding options available to you, including a 12-week property disregard and a deferred payment agreement.

What is a 12-week property disregard?

Under this scheme we may be able to disregard the property you live in for up to the first 12 weeks of your permanent stay in a care home although we will take into account your other capital and income as normal.

After the 12 week period is finished you can either choose to make your own arrangements or ask us to assist you with a deferred payment agreement.

Download our factsheet on the 12-week property disregard (pdf format, 300KB)

How does a deferred payment agreement work?

If you do not wish to sell your property immediately we can provide assistance on a longer term basis.

You will be liable for the full cost of your care but, under the deferred payment agreement, we  will  pay the full fees to the care home and expect you to pay an  assessed contribution from your available capital and income.

We will then defer collection of the  remaining cost of your care to a later date. In the meantime, we will protect the council's interest by recording a legal charge  against the property to be repaid when the deferred payment agreement finishes.

Please note that once all parties have signed the agreement the council cannot cancel so it will continue during your lifetime unless you sell your property or choose to end the agreement.

Will I be charged anything if I wish to opt for a deferred payment agreement?

There is an administration charge of £650 to cover the cost of setting up and maintaining the agreement for as long as is necessary. Other charges, such as legal costs and land registry fees, may also apply. The loan will have interest charged on it in the same way a normal loan would be charged on money borrowed from a bank. This rate is set by the Department of Health, which is reviewed regularly.

When will you begin to charge me for services?

We will begin charging you your assessed contribution from the first day that you go in to the care home. We will aim to complete the financial assessment as quickly as possible so that you understand how much you will be expected to contribute.

Will I be eligible for funding from the National Health Service?

This type of funding is called NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC)  and is usually only provided for care home residents whose needs have been assessed by the National Health Service as meeting its eligibility criteria. You can find more information on Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning website.

If you aren't eligible for NHS Continuing Healthcare you may qualify for NHS funded nursing care.

What is funded nursing care?

NHS funded nursing care is care provided by a registered nurse, paid for by the NHS, for people who live in a care home.  You may qualify for this if you live in a care home registered to provide nursing care, and you don’t qualify for NHS continuing healthcare but have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse. You can find more information on the NHS funded nursing page.

How is the financial assessment calculated?

We calculate our assessment by looking at your income, savings and any capital assets you may have (for example, property, shares and other assets).  We will make allowance for your daily living costs while in the care home which we call the personal expenses allowance. We will use this information to calculate how much you will need to contribute towards your care and support and how much financial assistance you receive.

In simple terms the calculation is:

Savings and assets (including property) + income – personal expenses allowance = assessed contribution.

We’ve provided more detail and answered some of the questions you may have below.


We take into account almost all types of savings including current and saving accounts, Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), shares, investment bonds, and National Savings. It will also include the property in which you live and additional property that you own.

Tariff income from savings

If you have capital between £14,250 and £23,250 we will assess you as being able to
Contribute £1 per week for every £250 you have above £14,250. Please note that the Department of Health considers that this is what you can afford to pay from your capital rather than an expectation of the interest you may actually receive.


We include almost all benefits such as state pensions, guaranteed credit, income support, employment support allowance, and occupational pensions.

You should try to ensure that you are already receiving all the state benefits you are entitled to as the Financial Assessment Team will assume that you should be receiving these and include them in your assessment.

You can check your entitlement by contacting the following organisations:

See also

Personal expense allowance

The personal expense allowance (PEA) is the minimum amount the Department of Health states that local authorities must ensure that all residents retain for their personal needs while in care home placement.

What happens if I don't provide my financial information?

You do not have to disclose your financial circumstances if you do not want to. However, if that is your choice, we will assume that you are prepared to pay the full cost of your care.

How can I make sure I'm receiving all the benefits I'm entitled to?

If you want to make sure you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to, contact the Department of Work and Pensions (if you are over 60), Job Centre Plus (if you are under 60) Age UK, or the Citizens Advice Bureau, details are below.

Additional contributions - top-ups

Please note that if you choose a care home or other care provision 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 at present allow service users  to use their own resources to pay this difference except in very limited circumstances.

Who to contact if you have any questions?

This information is only a brief outline of the financial assessment process if you receive care and support in a care home. For more detailed guidance or specific advice please contact the Financial Assessment Team.

What to do next?

How to apply for a care needs assessment to determine if you eligible to receive services.

More information