Your care home fees may be funded by your local authority. In this case, they’ll provide details of care homes in your area that charge the amount they’re willing to pay.
This amount of money offered by the authority is known as your ‘personal budget’.
However, you might prefer a more expensive care home option than your local authority is suggesting. For example, you might want:
- a larger room
- a better view
- a different care home, or
- a care home in a location closer to your family.
You can choose care that’s more expensive than the authority is offering, if someone can pay the difference. Generally, it must be a third party who pays the top-up fees. This could be a friend, a relative or a charitable organisation.
No one should be pressured into paying top-up fees. And you should always make sure your authority’s offering to pay a reasonable amount to buy the care you need.
You can pay your own top-up fees if:
- You’ve entered into a 12-week property disregard period with the authority. This is a period during which the authority doesn’t take the value of your property into account.
- You’ve got a Deferred Payment Agreement in place with your authority. This is where the authority pays part of your care home fees as a loan. They get their money back once your property has been sold at a later date – or when you die.
Your local authority has an obligation to review the arrangement once a year. However, anyone paying a top-up fee can ask for a review of the arrangement at any time.
Advantages of third-party top-ups
- Third-party top-ups can mean that you can live in your preferred care home. This is if that care home charges more than your local authority’s prepared to pay.
Disadvantages of third-party top-ups
- The third party will sign a contract with either the care home or the authority, committing them to ongoing payments. It’s worth considering that they may not be able to continue paying the top-up fees in the future.
- The person paying the top-ups could experience an unexpected change in their financial circumstances. This means they may not be able to carry on paying your top-up fees. If this is the case, you may have to move to a different room or another care home.
Get specialist care fees advice
Anyone considering paying care fee top-ups should get specialist care fees advice from a qualified and experienced adviser. They’ll be able to:
- discuss the best ways to protect their assets and ensure that they can meet this long-term commitment, and
- let you know about products specifically designed to help with paying care costs.