Paying for residential care

Find out about the funding available to pay for a care home.

1 Meeting the costs yourself

In West Sussex, around 60 per cent of people needing care in a care home are able to meet the costs themselves from savings, investments, benefits, pension and other income.

You might qualify for NHS funding if you have longer-term support needs that require nursing care. This is explained on the next page.

In any case, it's always a good idea to take independent financial advice so that you can make all the right decisions and don't risk running out of money.

For example, our Carewise specialist financial advisers provide information and advice about care and support options and the most cost-effective ways of paying for long-term care.

You can also ask a social worker for advice, as you may become eligible for financial support from the County Council if your investments and savings fall below £23,250.

2 Help with funding

If you have been assessed as requiring residential or nursing care you may be eligible for financial help towards the cost. 

County Council funding

The amount you will be required to contribute is related to how much you are able to pay. We find out how much you can afford through a financial assessment.

If you have less than £23,250 in savings and investments (not including the value of your home) you are likely to be eligible for help.

You may also wish to consider obtaining a loan from us against the value of your home to help towards the cost. We call this a deferred payment.

People who are assessed as needing residential or nursing care, and are eligible for financial support from the County Council, normally have their places paid for at the usual maximum rates, less any assessed contribution.

Enhanced rates are paid for homes within all of the Northern area (shown in the map below) and those homes in the Western area listed under Midhurst, Pulborough and Billingshurst in the Care Guide.

NHS-funded nursing care

You might be eligible to receive NHS-funded nursing care if you:

  • live in a care home registered to provide nursing care or are planning to move into one
  • do not qualify for NHS continuing healthcare.

Funded nursing care is not means-tested and is based on your health needs. It is arranged through the local clinical commissioning group (CCG) following an assessment

If you are eligible, the CCG will pay the care home towards the cost of the nursing care you need.

Other benefits and payments

Ensure that you have applied for any benefits or other payments you may be entitled to. See our benefits and payments checklist page.

3 Choosing your care home

You can find information about care homes in West Sussex to help your make your decision in our Care Guide. Information about the registration and quality of care homes can be found on the Care Quality Commission (CQC) website.

If we have agreed to provide financial help

If you need residential or nursing care and we have agreed to help you financially, you may choose where you want to live as long as the home:

  • will enter into a contract with the County Council
  • is within our financial limit of support for your assessed level of need
  • has a vacancy
  • is registered with the CQC.

There is a maximum amount we will pay to the home. This will be based on your level of need and include what we have assessed you need to contribute.

You can choose a more expensive service than the maximum we will pay if someone else, such as a friend, relative or charity, is willing to pay the difference. We call this a 'third party top-up'. Please ask your social care worker for more details.

If you are funding your care home fees

If you are funding your care home fees yourself you can apply directly to the home of your choice.

The level of fees charged by care homes varies considerably, so it is sensible to compare one home with another. Check what the fees cover and what you would have to pay for; the cost of newspapers, personal toiletries and dry cleaning are often not included.

We strongly advise that you seek the help of an independent financial adviser who specialises in long-term care, such as a Carewise care fees adviser.

4 Find out more

More information is available in our Care Guide.

To find out about including the value of your home towards the cost of residential or nursing home fees, see the Deferred payment scheme.

You can also find more information in our booklet:

Useful links

Last updated:
10 April 2024
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