Paying For Care - The Cost of Care for the Elderly

It is important to make sure that the paying for care route is sustainable. There are several ways in which the care you need can be financed. It is important to check with your social services department whether you are eligible for funded care provided by social services. All local authorities work towards an eligibility criterion in relation to needs and the upper capital threshold.

It is important that you have a benefits check to make sure you receive all the benefits you are entitled to. If you are funding your own care, the attendance allowance can be used to pay for your care.

Self-funding long-term care

Care can be expensive! If you do not qualify for State funding then assets such as property, savings, private investments, or pensions will be needed to fund the care home fees. Partial state funding can sometimes be available. If using private income and investments then consult an IFA to make sure that funding plans will achieve the financial support over a long term.

If you are making important decisions on behalf of an elderly relative in need of long-term care then you have come to the right place, as CarePod is the first structured support, information and guidance programme for anyone who is responsible for making important financial decisions on behalf of an elderly relative in care.

State funding

There is a general principle that people pay privately for a Care Home. There are circumstances in which the state can help pay residential care home fees. The fee levels, rules and conditions vary with each local authority.

NHS funding for nursing care


In 2001, the government decided to introduce a new system for residents of nursing homes, called 'free nursing care for all'. However, this is not the same as fully funded NHS care. This system, known as the Registered Nurse Care Contribution (RNCC) involves the NHS making a small financial contribution towards the cost of the nursing care provided by registered nurses employed at a nursing home. It does not pay for care provided by nursing assistants. The Primary Care Trust (PCT) covering the area in which a nursing home is located is responsible for meeting the cost of care provided by registered nurses. This tax-free benefit is paid directly to the care home.

RNCC is a benefit paid out to people paying for their own care. Those living in a residential care home where there is no nursing care do not qualify for the RNCC.

Who qualifies for RNCC?


Ideally, an assessment should be arranged before the person requiring care goes to live in a nursing care home. The main assessment, by a registered nurse, will determine whether the person qualifies for RNCC.

• For those meeting their own care costs in full, any RNCC payment to the nursing home should mean a reduction in the personal fees paid.

• For those paying half fees with the local authority, there may be a reduction in the personal contribution. This needs to be checked with the local authority.

• Where the local authority pays the majority of the fees, the NHS will still contribute towards the cost of nursing care, but this will not reduce any personal contribution made.

• Attendance Allowance is also paid to a resident in receipt of the RNCC in a Nursing Home.

Where the person is entering nursing care for less than six weeks (for respite care, for example), it is not necessary to have an assessment by an NHS nurse. In these circumstances, the person will qualify for NHS-funded registered nursing care at the weekly flat rate and will be treated as if a formal assessment had taken place.

How the RNCC operates


The care home must provide a written contract or statement of terms and conditions to the person involved or the family, detailing how much the NHS is contributing to the person’s nursing care and how this payment reduces the fees being privately paid for. It should include the care and services covered by the fee, the level of the fees and any additional services available at extra cost.


Everyone is entitled to a preliminary assessment for continuing health care funding, which initially involves completing a continuing health care “checklist”. This Checklist is to help practitioners identify people who need a full assessment for NHS continuing healthcare.

Attendance allowance

This is a State benefit paid by the Benefits Agency to people over the age of 65 years old that need help with care or supervision. When a person moves into a private care home and is paying for themselves they may still receive the attendance allowance. Further Attendance Allowance Info and then look at all the choices under Disabled people.
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