Types of state and local authority support

If you need care at home or in a residential setting such as supported living or a care home, your Local Authority may be able to help with your care costs. Financial support is provided through benefits if you satisfy strict guidelines to do with both your health and financial situation. Some benefits are means-tested and others are not. Local Authority funding and state support for elderly care comes in various forms:

State benefits

Attendance Allowance

 Higher Rate  £85.60
 Lower Rate £57.30

If you are over 65 and need help with bathing or eating (whether at home or in care) you may be eligible for Attendance Allowance. If you require around the clock care then you would receive the higher rate, whereas those requiring part-time help would receive the lower rate.

Should you move into care that is fully funded by the Local Authority or NHS, the attendance allowance will normally stop after 28 days. Attendance Allowance is not available in care homes in Scotland.

Read more about attendance allowance

State Pension

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016  

If you reached State Pension age before 6 April 2016, providing you have paid or been credited with National Insurance contributions, you are eligible for the basic State Pension which is currently a maximum of £125.95 per week. More information about the basic State Pension, including eligibility criteria and how to claim your pension, can be found on the Gov.uk website.

For those who are aged 80 or over and reached state pension age prior to 6 April 2016 there is an additional ‘over 80’s pension’ scheme that makes up the difference to £75.50 for the current tax year if you don’t get the basic state pension or currently get less than £75.50 per week. Read more about the over 80's Pension.

If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016  

If you reached State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016you will get the new state pension currently £164.35 per week, but the amount you receive will depend on several factors, including the number of qualifying years of National Insurance contributions you have. To see how this is calculated and for more information about the new State Pension, visit the Gov.uk website.

Pension Credit

Some people with a state pension could be entitled to Pension Credit, an income-related benefit made up of two parts – Guarantee Credit and Savings Credit. Working out who is entitled to what is complicated. Your weekly income can be topped up if it's below the guaranteed levels of £163 (single people) or £248.80 (couples). People who saved towards their retirement (for example in a pension) could get an extra payment known as Savings Credit.

Your income is worked out by looking at:
  • your State Pension,
  • any other pensions you receive,
  • most social benefits such as Carer's Allowance,
  • any earnings, and
  • Income from savings and investments over £10,000
For example if you have £10,000 worth of savings and another £20,400 of investments this would be deemed to provide an annual income of £41. This is calculated by disregarding the first £10,000 and applying £1 income for every £500 or part £500.

Guarantee Credit per week Savings Credit per week 
Single  £163.00  Up to £13.40
Couple £248.80 Up to £14.99

Read more about pension credit.

NHS Funded Nursing Care

 Nursing Care (standard rate) £158.16
 Nursing Care £79.00 
 Personal Care  £174.00 
 Nursing Care  £149.67
 Nursing Care (flat allowance) £100.00 

*Latest figures from Laing & Buisson care of older people UK market report 2018, 29th edition. 

NHS funded nursing care is provided by a registered nurse and is paid for by the NHS. Your needs will be assessed to decide if you're eligible for NHS funded nursing care.You should receive it 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.  

The NHS will make a payment directly to the care home to fund care from registered nurses who are usually employed by the care home.

In Scotland you will lose your Attendance Allowance and the care component of Disability Living Allowance if you receive free personal care.

NHS Continuing Healthcare 

Continuing healthcare is fully funded NHS care for those who are severely ill. If your health needs are high, then you may receive NHS continuing healthcare, where all care costs are met by the NHS. You may also be reassessed for NHS continuing care if your health deteriorates.

Your need for this type of long term care funding is assessed by two or more nurses in your primary care trust, using a "decision support tool" to make an assessment of each area of need.

Personal care allowance (Scotland only)

Personal Care Allowance is a contribution made in Scotland towards the cost of personal care.

Personal expense allowance 

Personal expense allowance is a weekly amount that people whose care is being fully funded are allowed to retain from their income for their personal use.

If you have your care fees paid by the Local Authority you can keep a small allowance from your pension for your own personal use. In England and Northern Ireland this allowance amounts to £24.90 per week, £27.00 per week in Scotland or £28.50 per week in Wales.


Social care funding by your Local Authority is subject to eligibility criteria based on the level of care required. It is also a means tested benefit. The Local Authority may pay for all, some or none of your care depending on the outcome of the care needs assessment and means test. For more information go to our pages on claiming care entitlements and funding entitlements.

The table below shows the Local Authority capital limits.

 Lower  £14,250
 Upper  £23,250
 Personal expense allowance- per week  £24.90
 Lower  £17,000
 Upper  £27,250
 Personal expense allowance - per week  £27.00
 Set standard limit for residential care  £40,000
 Set standard limit for non-residential care £24,000
 Personal Expense Allowance - per week  £28.50
 Lower  £14,250
 Upper  £23,250
 Personal Expense Allowance - per week  £24.90

So taking England as an example:

    • If your financial assets, including property, have a total value of less than £14,250, you will qualify for Local Authority funding 
    • If you have more than £23,250, you will normally be expected to pay for your own care in full
    • If you have between £14,250 and £23,250, you will receive some Local Authority funding. The amount you are expected to pay is £1 a week for every £250 in assets over £14,250 you have. For example, if you have assets of £18,250, you would be expected to pay £16 a week [£18,250 - £14,250 = £4,000. £4,000/£250 = £16 per week] towards your care costs

Please be aware that the limits on Local Authority funding vary depending on which part of the country you live in.

If you pay for advice from a care funding specialist adviser, they will carry out a full state benefit review to see what if anything you are entitled to claim. Alternatively you can do your own check with a benefits calculator such as the one provided by Turn2us, a registered UK charity.