Your questions answered

The Government is changing the way people pay for social care in England, to make care more affordable and fairer for everyone. Here you will find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about how social care charges are changing and who will benefit from the reforms.

About the reforms

When will these changes take place?

These changes will begin in October 2023. Any care costs incurred before this time will not be counted towards the cap.

Who will benefit from these changes?

These changes will support people of all ages receiving care, regardless of what type of care they receive. Younger adults will benefit from the same cap on care costs and means test as older adults.

Paying for your care

Does this mean I no longer need to sell my home?

Currently there is no limit on how much people have to pay for their care. Until now, people have faced unpredictable costs and have not known whether they will need to sell their home to pay for them.

The reforms will help people plan for care costs so that they can choose to entirely protect their home in their lifetime and in the future. It caps the amount they will need to spend on their personal care costs. If you or your partner still live in your home, the value of your home will be protected. However you may need to use some of your housing wealth to pay for your care if you move into a care home and your house is left empty.

If this happens, under the new system, local authorities will continue to offer deferred payment agreements. This is where the council pays for your care bills and you repay the cost later when you choose to sell your home, or after your death.

This means you will not be forced to sell your home during your lifetime to pay for care.

Government is working with partners to review the existing scheme in order to provide more flexibility for people to defer their care payments.

Ask your council if you’re eligible for a deferred payment agreement.

I pay for my own care, and am currently not entitled to any support from the local council with my care costs. What do these changes mean for me?

Depending how much money and assets you have you may be eligible for financial support with your care costs when the changes come in. From October 2023 if you have less than £100,000 in chargeable assets you are likely to be eligible for help, so you may need to be reassessed by your local council.

Your chargeable assets are what the local council will take into account when carrying out a financial assessment. It usually means your savings but could also mean bonds or stocks and shares, and in some circumstances, your house.

The overall system will be also made fairer, to ensure those who fund their own care do not pay more than state-funded individuals for the equivalent standard of care.

What happens if I want to pay for more expensive care services?

You may choose to pay for more expensive care services than those recommended by your local council. In this case you can choose to top-up your care costs by paying the difference towards a more expensive service.

If you choose to pay top-ups, these costs will not count towards the £86,000 cap on your personal care costs and will be payable after you have reached the cap.

Cap on personal care costs

What is included in the £86k cap?

Your care costs will typically be made up of your:

  • Personal care costs for help with tasks such as dressing, bathing, going to the toilet.
  • Daily living costs, if you live in a care home, such as food, rent, accommodation costs and energy bills.

From October 2023 the amount you will have to pay for your personal care costs will be capped at £86,000, making it easier to plan ahead particularly if you need long-term care. This is equivalent to around three years in care.

Your daily living costs are not included in this cap. If you ask the local authority to commission your care, they will need to provide you with options where Daily Living Costs are no more than £200 per week; you can choose to pay more than this, if, for example you would like a nicer room.

What’s not included in the £86k cap?

The £86,000 cap covers only how much you pay towards your personal care costs. It does not include the contributions made by your local council or your daily living costs.

Some things will not be included in the cap. These are:

  • Daily living costs like food, accommodation and energy bills.
  • Personal care costs you incurred before October 2023.
  • Any additional care you choose to have on top of what has been recommended by your local council.
  • Any top-up payments you choose to make to pay for more expensive care services.

What happens when I reach the cap?

Once you have paid £86,000 towards your eligible personal care costs, the Government will pay for any further personal care you may need. You will only have to pay for your daily living costs and any top up you choose to pay for more expensive care services.

I am already receiving care. Will I benefit from the £86,000 cap?

The new cap on personal care costs will be introduced in October 2023. This is to allow local councils time to plan and prepare for the changes.

Everyone receiving social care support will benefit from the peace of mind the cap on cost brings, from that point on, however any care you paid for before that date will not count towards the cap.

Does the cap vary by local authority area?

No. The new cap on care costs applies to everyone in England, regardless of your age, wealth or area you live.

Accessing social care support

Use the social care glossary