News story

Charging for non-residential care

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Non-residential care is care, other than in a care home, usually in peoples’, own homes.

This includes cases where care and accommodation are arranged separately. For example, care provided for those living in extra care housing and in Shared Lives arrangements.

Charges for non-residential social care are decided by local authorities. They do not have to charge for services. The legal requirement is that any such charges should be ‘reasonable’ - as set out in Section 17 of the Health and Social Services and Social Security Adjudications (HASSASSA) Act 1983 -and that no one should be asked to pay more than they reasonably can.

The Statutory guidance -  Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and other non-residential Social Services, is in place to ensure that all charges are fair and that service users’ incomes are not reduced below defined limits as a result of charging.

The guidance makes it clear that local authorities should be guided by the overriding principles that charges:

  • do not reduce the user’s net income below basic levels of Income Support, plus 25%
  • do not result in the service user being left without the means to pay for any other necessary care or support or for other costs arising from their disability

As with charging for residential care, local authorities may take service users’ capital into account when assessing them for charging with the exception of the value of a service user’s main home, which must be disregarded whilst they are living in it. Local authorities are free to operate more generous allowances if they wish.