State Funding for Care

The Government and local authorities provide financial assistance, advice and other forms of support to elderly, sick and disabled people who need help with their personal care or nursing. Assistance may vary between different areas of the UK.

Social Services Support and ‘Direct Payments’

Your local Social Services can arrange and may pay for, or contribute towards, the cost of the care you may need. This does not cover nursing care at home which should be the responsibility of the NHS. With the current state of the economy, there are constraints in the provision of state funding for care and many services are no longer eligible.

If you want Social Services to fund your care, you will have to have a means-test. This means that they will ask about your weekly income including pensions, earnings, pension credits, allowances and benefits as well as all your savings and investments.

For care in your own home (as opposed to residential care,) the value of your home is not considered and they will generally ignore any savings or investments you may have if they are below certain limits. The figures can vary from area to area.

For Information about funding in East Sussex, please follow this link:

For information about funding in Kent, please download this document

The Council will then work out how much you may need to pay towards the cost of providing you with care.

With Direct Payments the local authority pays you a regular cash payment to buy and manage your own care services. For more information click here: Direct Payments.

NHS Continuing Care

Nursing and healthcare care needs are entitled to be paid for ‘in any setting’ – including in your own home – if, following a short clinical assessment, your local health authority agrees your health needs meet their criteria for funding. However, this can sometimes be a grey area and often verges on social care which is normally funded by the local authority.
The value of Continuing Care may exceed £1,000 per week if you have high needs. You do not receive the cash directly, the NHS spends it on your behalf in accordance with the needs and aims stated within a Care Needs Assessment.

The health authorities are obliged to take the wishes of the patient into account. If you want, for example, to have a live-in nurse provide you with the care you need at home you should make this clear as early as possible during the care needs review.

If your partner is your main Carer, he or she may need a break now and then. Continuing Care funding may help to pay for professional respite services, e.g. a visiting nurse for an afternoon or sometimes a live-in nurse for a week.

Continuing Care funding criteria may vary from area to area, but to be eligible you must usually suffer from a serious life-limiting or terminal condition.

There are several kinds of ‘Continuing Care’. You may be eligible for help under more than one. For example, your health authority and local council may use different schemes to jointly co-ordinate and fund one package of care that meets both your health and social care needs. Care At Home Services provides Continuing Care services to a number of NHS Trusts.

Not everyone with ongoing health needs will be eligible. The assessment is quite strict, and being frail isn’t enough. But don’t let that put you off. Free healthcare could be worth thousands each year, so it’s important to find out where you stand.

As a guide, ‘eligible’ health needs may include (but are not limited to):

  • complex medical conditions that need additional care and support
  • long-term medical conditions
  • physical or mental disabilities
  • terminal illnesses
  • rapidly deteriorating health
  • mobility problems

State Benefits

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a tax-free benefit for people over 65 who need help with personal care such as getting in and out of bed, washing, eating, medication or mobility, or because they can become confused and need to be watched over. Attendance Allowance is not affected by savings and is usually unaffected by any other income you may have.

Telephone your Local Benefits Office or 0845 712 3456; see leaflets DS702 and HB5 available from Jobcentres, Pension Centres and Social Security offices.

Carer’s Allowance

Carer’s Allowance is a taxable benefit for people such as friends and family members who look after someone who gets Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. Extra expenses can be claimed for paying a third party to provide care while you are out.

Telephone your Local Benefits Office or 0800 882200; See leaflets DS700 available from Jobcentres, Pension Centres and Social Security offices.

Pension and Savings Credit

Pension Credit is an income related benefit made up of 2 parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit.

Guarantee Credit tops up your weekly income if it’s below £145.40 (single people) or £222.05 (couples).

Savings Credit is an extra payment for people who have saved some money towards their retirement, e.g. a pension.

You don’t pay tax on Pension Credit.

For more information please see the government website: This website has a calculator which shows you what you may be entitled to.

Disability Living Allowance / Personal Independence Payments

With effect from 8 April 2013, the Disability Living Allowance has been replaced by a new assessment- based benefit called Personal Independence Payments (PIP). This is a new benefit for people who need help with everyday life or who have limited mobility.

This applies to people aged between 16 and 64. If you are over 65 you can continue to claim the Attendance Allowance.

The PIP is made up of two components:

  • Daily Living
  • Mobility

Depending on your score from the assessment you will receive a payment ranging from £21 to £143.40 per week.  If you are currently receiving the Disability Living Allowance DLA), you will be asked to attend an assessment sometime over the next two years.  In some cases, the PIP may pay more that the DLA and it may be in your interest to request an early assessment.  To find out what you might be entitled to go to:

For full information on PIP, we recommend that you go to where you can download a free comprehensive guide to PIP and all the necessary forms required for making an application. Telephone your Local Benefits Office or 0845 712 3456 for more information

Independent Living Fund

The top-up fund that works in conjunction with Social Services. The Independent Living Fund (ILF) pays grants to disabled people with high support needs who wish to live independently. ILF disregards your earnings and that of your partner so you can earn without losing any funding. Phone 0845 601 8815.

Benefits Enquiry Line 0800 882 200

A confidential telephone service for people with disabilities, their representatives and carers. Benefits Website  DirectGov

Age UK Senior Line 0808 800 6565.

A welfare advice line run by Age UK for older people and their carers. Free, confidential and impartial advice about benefits and community care.