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Care homes and benefits

When you or a member of your family go to live in a care home, the benefits you get may change. What will happen to your benefits depends on the type of benefit you get and whether you are going into or out of a care home. Living in a care home can also affect the benefits your partner or carer gets and any benefits you get for your children.

1. Introduction

Some benefits can still be paid when you live in a care home. Some stop being paid once you, your partner or your child has been living in a care home for a set period of time. Others are reduced if they included amounts for your partner or a child.

Applies to: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Please note: This is a complicated area and we recommend that you seek advice from an expert benefits adviser about your particular circumstances. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.


You should tell whoever pays you benefits (e.g. Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service, Disability Benefit Unit, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or the local authority) that you have moved to live in a care home. You should do this before you have been in it for 28 days as none of your welfare benefits will stop or go down in the first 28 days. They can then make any changes that need to be made so that you are not paid too much or too little.

If you own your home, its value could affect the amount of means-tested benefits you are able to get when you move into a care home. In some cases this means you are not able to get any means-tested benefits. The rules are complicated and there are several ways that the value of your home can be ignored for a period of time. If you are in this position, it is important to get advice. Use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

It is important to remember that although the benefit rules state how much benefit you will get when living in a care home, you may have to use some of the money you get from benefits to pay your care home fees. Unless you are funding yourself, the local authority will add your benefit income to your other income when working out how much you should pay towards the care home fees.

You should always be left with a weekly personal expenses allowance of at least:

England: £24.90
Scotland: £25.05
Wales: £25.50
Northern Ireland: £24.90 per week.

2. Benefits that can be paid if you live in a care home

If you get any of the benefits listed below, the amount you get for yourself will not change if you live in a care home.

However, if you get any extra money in the benefit for another person, for example for a child or your partner, it is important for you to get advice about your situation. If you have a partner, it may be better for them to make their own claim for a benefit.  You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

If you pay all of your care home fees yourself, or the local authority is temporarily paying your care home fees for you while you sell a property and you are going to repay them once the property is sold, you can still get the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component, Personal Independence Payment daily living component or Attendance Allowance.

 

Updated: April 2018

3. Benefits that stop being paid if you live in a care home

If you get Carer’s Allowance for looking after another person, your benefit will stop when you move to live in a care home.

If you get Jobseeker’s Allowance, it will stop when you are sick and not able to look for work for more than two weeks. In these cases you should get advice to see if you can get another benefit instead.

If your care homes fees are paid in full or part by the local authority, National Health Service (NHS) or other public funds, payment of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component, Personal Independence Payment (PIP) daily living component or Attendance Allowance (AA) will stop after you have been in a care home for 28 days.

If your DLA, PIP or AA payments stop, they can be paid again when you come out of the care home even if this is only for a short period of time, for example a weekend. If you come out of the care home but then return within 28 days, your benefit will stop again as soon as you return to the care home.

If you were living in hospital before moving into the care home and payment of DLA, PIP or AA had already stopped, you will not be paid from the first day in the care home.

4. Benefits to help pay your rent, Council Tax or mortgage/home loan

Any benefits you get to help pay your rent, lease, mortgage, or other home loan and Council Tax on your former home will stop when you move to live in a care home permanently or if you do not plan to go back within 52 weeks. These benefits are:

If you move temporarily to a care home but are going to return home, for example you have respite care or are trying out a care home, these benefits can carry on being paid for up to 52 weeks.

You will need to tell the people paying the benefit that you are moving into a care home, for example Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service or your local authority. You should tell them as soon as you know you are moving so they can make sure that you are not paid too much.

If you were claiming one of these benefits on behalf of you and your partner, your partner should claim in their own right as soon as you move permanently into a care home.

5. Carer's Allowance (for someone looking after you)

If someone gets Carer’s Allowance (CA) for looking after you their benefit will stop when you move to live permanently in a care home as they will no longer be providing care for you.  

You or your carer should tell the Carer’s Allowance Unit that you have moved into a care home.

Although CA will stop, carer premiums paid as part of other benefits may continue for up to eight weeks.

If the person who was looking after you loses their CA and they are getting other benefits, such as Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit (England, Scotland, Wales)/Housing Benefit (Northern Ireland), they should tell the relevant benefit office – e.g. Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service or local authority office so their other benefit claims can be updated.

If your stay in the care home is temporary, your carer's CA will stop if your Disability Living Allowance care component, Personal Independence Payment daily living component, or Attendance Allowance stops after 28 days.

Otherwise, Carer’s Allowance will stop if your carer has a break from caring for you for more than 12 weeks in a 26 week period.

6. Benefits for your children when you live in a care home

If you move into a care home permanently you can get Child Benefit even if your child lives elsewhere as long as you pay towards their maintenance and no one else claims Child Benefit for them. It may be better for the person who has your child living with them to claim Child Benefit. If this applies to you, it is important to get advice. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

If you are living permanently in a care home, you will not be able to get Child Tax Credit for your children unless they live with you in the care home. The person who is looking after your child should claim Child Tax Credit for them.

If you are staying in a care home temporarily, you can get Child Tax Credit for a child who normally lives with you when you are at home but it may be better for someone else to claim Child Tax Credit for your child when you are in a care home. Get advice if this applies to you. You can use our Find an Adviser tool to find a local adviser.

7. Your partner's benefits when you live in a care home

For the purposes of benefits claims, you and your partner will no longer be treated as a couple if you are living in a care home permanently. Your partner must apply for benefits as a single person.

If your partner gets a benefit in their own right, for example Basic State Pension, New State Pension or contributory Employment and Support Allowance, they will get the benefit but any additional amount paid to them for you as their partner will stop. 

Your partner should tell whoever pays them benefits that you have moved to live in a care home (for example Jobcentre Plus, the Pension Service, Disability Benefit Unit, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or the local authority) so that they can decide what changes needs to be made to their benefits.

The benefits that your partner can claim as a single person will depend on their age, whether they are caring for children, looking for work, sick, disabled or caring for a disabled person. They can use the Turn2us Benefit Calculator to find out what they might be entitled to.   

If you are living in a care home temporarily, for example in respite care, any benefits your partner gets that include an amount for you will only change if you are likely to be living apart for more than 52 weeks.

8. Benefits for your child when they live in a care home

If your child usually lives with you, but moves to live in a care home or residential school, any Child Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Disability Living Allowance you get for them could stop or be reduced. The rules are very complicated, so get advice if this applies to you.

You should tell the agency that pays your benefit if your child moves to live in a care home or school so that they can make any changes to your benefit to avoid paying you too much.

9. Frequently asked questions

Will I still get my State Pension when I start living in a residential home?

You will still get your Basic State Pension or your New State Pension if you move to live in a care home. However, if your care home fees are paid in full or part by the local authority, NHS or out of other public funds, you may have to use your State Retirement Pension to pay a contribution to the cost of care. 

You should always be left with a weekly personal expenses allowance of at least:

England: £24.90
Scotland: £25.05
Wales: £25.50
Northern Ireland: £24.90 per week.

I was not getting any benefits when I moved to a care home because I was working before I became ill, can I claim benefits now I live in a care home?

If you were working when you became ill, you might be getting Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). This will be paid for the first 28 weeks that you are not able to work. You may also get Working Tax Credit for the first 28 weeks if your income and savings are low.

If you are not entitled to SSP and are not able to work due to ill health and you are aged under state pension age, you could claim Employment and Support Allowance

If you are a woman who is aged over State Pension age or a man who has reached the State Pension age for a woman who has the same date of birth as you, you could claim Pension Credit. 

Please note that since 6 April 2010 State Pension age for women has been gradually increasing so that it will be the same as men's State Pension age by 2018. For more information, see our guide to the State Pension age changes.

If your income or savings are low enough, you might get help with rent or payments towards a mortgage or other home loan if you are only temporarily living in a care home. See our Housing Costs guide for benefits to help pay your rent, Council Tax or mortgage/home loan section.

If you are not getting Personal Independence Payment (PIP), or Attendance Allowance (AA), you can make a claim for them while living in a care home. If your care home fees are paid by the local authority, National Health Service (NHS) or out of other public funds, you will only be paid the daily living component of PIP, or AA if/when you move out of the care home. Although it can be paid if you come out of the care home or spend time living at home, for example on weekends or holidays.

If you qualify for the mobility component of PIP, it can be paid when you are living in a care home.

10. Care homes: Further information

Age UK: Care Homes information

Independent Age: Provides information to older people and their families, including care options and paying for care.

Paying for Care: website that provides information and advice on paying for care in the home and in residential settings.

Social Care Institute for Excellence: Provides information on good care and support for people living in England

 



Date of publication: 14 May 2015