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Getting care in your own home: how much it will cost you

Detailed information on how the charge for care in your own home is calculated.
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Assessing your finances

If you’re going to start getting care at home, we need to assess your finances.

After your needs assessment has been completed and the level of care you need to receive in your own home has been agreed, your social worker will ask you for a small amount of personal and financial details. They will pass this information on to our Financial Assessment Team.

Using this information and any other information we may have on file, our Financial Assessment Team might be able to tell you how much you will be charged for care without carrying out a full financial assessment.

If they need more information, they will need to contact you (or someone you have nominated to act on your behalf) by telephone, to carry out a full financial assessment. This financial assessment will determine how much, if anything, you will have to contribute towards the cost of your care.

Providing us with documents for the financial assessment

During the financial assessment, the supporting documents that we will need to see depend on your circumstances. For example, if you have an occupational pension, we will need to see a supporting document that shows this.

We will need to see recent bank statements or your savings passbooks for all of the bank accounts you have, even if they are overdrawn. If we are missing any supporting documents following a financial assessment, we will tell you.

The fastest way to give us your information is to scan or take photos of the documents required and email them to financialassessment@lewisham.gov.uk.

Alternatively, you can send us copies of your documents via post to:

The Financial Assessment Team
4th floor, Laurence House

Please note: If you send us documents by post, please make sure you pay the correct postal charge otherwise your envelope may not be delivered.

How we work out what you will pay towards your care costs

The first thing that your charge depends on is your allowable capital. Your allowable capital includes finances, such as savings in a bank account, shares and premium bonds, but not your home (if you own it).

If your allowable capital is above £23,250, you will be charged the full cost of your care.

If your allowable capital is under £23,250, then we must take into account other factors. We will calculate your assessment using the sum below:

Your income, minus your income support/pension buffer, minus your disability-related expenditure will give us your net disposable income. We will charge you 100% of your net disposable income.

What these terms mean

Net disposable income

Your income, minus your income support/pension buffer, minus your disability related expenditure.


Any eligible income that you have, including state benefits but not including the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Income support buffer or pension credit buffer

A buffer, whether it is an income support buffer or pension credit buffer, is a part of your income that the Government has decided that you are allowed to keep. This is to make sure you have enough money to live if you have to pay for care at home. Your buffer is determined by your age and level of disability. The full list of buffers is very long, but the most common buffers (for single claimants) are listed in the table below:

Your Age

Disability Benefit Received

Your Buffer 2023/24





higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) care


25 to pensionable age



25 to pensionable age

higher rate disability living allowance (DLA) care


Pensionable age or older



Disability-related expenditure

Disability-related expenditure (DRE) is the cost to you to meet your care needs. Most of these costs will have already been factored into the cost of your care (your support plan) in the initial needs assessment. However, it is possible that you may still be left with some other expenses, related to your disability. These costs can be put forward for consideration as DRE.

If you can provide receipts for these costs and adequately justify that these costs are related to your disability, we may be able to deduct these expenses from the overall cost of your care. To be successfully considered as DRE, any disability-related costs should:

  • be related to your agreed outcomes

  • be over and above what a non-disabled person of the same age would spend

  • be proven using receipts or bills

  • not be covered in your support plan.

There is no complete list of DRE. You may discuss and include any costs that are above the normal day-to-day costs of living, as long as they meet your outcomes. We make a judgement about whether these costs are disability related or a lifestyle choice.

Situations when DRE might be approved include:

  • having fuel costs that are higher than the average for your type of property – we will need to see a full year’s worth of gas or electricity bills to work out whether your fuel bills are higher than the regional average.

  • equipment – examples include wheelchairs or stair lifts. We will need to see details of the cost for any equipment and how long it is expected to last.

  • window cleaning – receipts will be needed for this type of expense to be considered.

  • metered water – it is possible that a disabled person may require extra water – for example, needing to do extra laundry because of incontinence. This will be allowed if the property is fitted with a water meter and you can give us evidence of the additional costs.

  • incontinence materials – such as pads, wipes and gloves to make sure that you are cared for safely.

  • cleaning and laundry materials – if you need more cleaning and laundry materials than average because of your disability (for example incontinence) then we need to see receipts and will discuss with you how we include these costs in your assessment.

  • domestic support – if you pay for support with any domestic tasks (outside of your support plan) and it is clear that you cannot undertake these tasks yourself, we may include this cost in your disability-related expenditure. We will need to see invoices for this work. If the costs are reasonable for the size of the property, we can discuss with you how these charges may be included in your assessment.

  • how you communicate with others – if you need extra equipment such as a specialist mobile phone or a braille typewriter to help you communicate with family, friend and carers, we will consider including these costs in your assessment.

  • live-in carer costs – additional costs to you having a live-in carer, such as electric, gas, heating and food, that are not covered in a support plan.

What if you do not want to tell us about your finances?

You do not have to give us your financial information. If you do not want a financial assessment, please get in touch with us. However, if you decide not to tell us about your finances, you will be charged the full cost of your care.

If you tell us you do not want a financial assessment, you can change your mind at any point and contact us for a financial assessment. This might happen if, for example, your capital was originally above the £23,250 limit, but has now dropped, meaning your charge for care might go down.

What if you do not agree with what you are being charged?

Assessment is a legal requirement and must be completed for anyone receiving services which are not funded fully by the NHS.

You will get a breakdown of your financial assessment, showing how we calculated your assessed charge.

If you do not agree with your charge, you can ask us to review the financial assessment by requesting this in writing. Please make your request by following the guidance on the feedback about care services page.

After complaining, until any further decisions are made you must continue to pay any invoices that arrive. If your charge goes down as a result of the review, you will get a retrospective refund.

What if there is a break in the care you get?

If you are not asked to pay towards your care, you will not be affected by a service break. However, if you receive a direct payment, we may ask for a refund of some of that payment if there is a break in your service.

If you are paying an assessed contribution or the full cost of your care, there may be a reduction in your charge if there is a service break.

To tell us about a break in service, please call us 020 8314 8454.

What if your financial circumstances change?

If there is a change in your financial circumstances (e.g. if your income changes or you have additional expenditure), you should report the change, along with any supporting evidence to our Financial Assessment Team.

You can send this information by email to financialassessment@lewisham.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can contact us by post at:

The Financial Assessment Team
4th floor, Laurence House

Even someone moving into your property can affect your state benefits, your financial circumstances and assessed contribution.

At least once a year, we will ask for updated information on your financial information. If you do not tell us of any changes in your circumstances when they occur, or very soon after, we may not be able to backdate a reduction to your charge.

Where can you get help or advice on dealing with your finances?

If you find yourself in debt or financial difficulty, or you could just benefit from advice, there are organisations available for help and advice.

Get more information about our charges

Legally, our charges must be in line with the Care Act 2014. You can read more about this in our adult social care charging and financial assessment framework policy.

Complaints, compliments and suggestions

You can make a complaint or give us feedback online.

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