Social care, unlike health care, isn’t free for everyone. Most people will need to pay something towards the cost of their care and support.

Most care services need to be paid for. These include:

  • care homes
  • housework and shopping
  • personal care in the home
  • support workers
  • carers breaks and respite care
  • transport
  • day centres.

You don’t need to pay for your care if you’re receiving continuing healthcare or funded nursing care. Some services must be provided for free, such as community equipment and minor adaptations that cost up to £1,000.

Getting assessed for financial support

First you’ll need to have a needs assessment. If this assessment shows that you’re eligible for support, you’ll then be offered a financial needs assessment. You can also request one by contacting the financial assessments and benefits (FAB) team on 023 9268 8199.

You’re welcome to have someone with you at the financial assessment. If you’d like the support of an independent professional advocate, please ask us when we contact you to arrange the visit.

How financial assessments work

A member of our financial and benefits (FAB) team will visit you to discuss your options and help you claim any benefits you might be entitled to. We’ll ask to see proof of your income, savings and investments. We’ll also ask about any care and support services or equipment you already pay for.

If you’re going to be receiving care and support at home, we’ll also ask about your housing costs. This includes mortgage or rent payments, and utility bills. We’ll need to see copies of bills and receipts for proof.

We’ll then calculate the amount you need to pay towards your care. By law, all councils use the same criteria for financial assessment.

You’ll have to pay the full cost of your care if you:

  • don’t meet the national eligibility criteria for care and support and decide to arrange it privately
  • choose not to have a financial assessment
  • have savings or income of more than £23,250.
If you own your home

The value of your home isn’t taken into account as long as it’s the only house you own and you’re going to keep living there. This means that if you’re receiving care and support at home, it won’t be considered part of your savings and investments.

If you move into residential care

If you move into residential care, the value of your home will then usually be taken into account. It could be counted as savings or investments, so if you have more than £23,250 equity in your property then you’re likely to be charged the full cost of your care.

Special cases

In some cases, your home can be ‘disregarded’. For example if you have a partner or a dependent who’s been living with you and is going to keep living in your home after you move to residential care. Read more information about this on the Money Helper website.

Selling your home

If the value of your home is taken into account, you don’t have to sell it straight away, but you can choose to use our ‘deferred payment scheme’. The scheme gives you the flexibility to choose when your home is sold.

What happens next?

Once you’ve had both a needs assessment and a financial assessment, if you have eligible needs, you’ll be given a personal budget and a support plan.

A personal budget is the overall cost of care and support that we, as the council, can arrange for you. It sets out how much (if any) you must pay of this and how much we will pay.

A support plan explains the services that can best support you and whether they will cost any money. These services include:

  • hiring a personal assistant or carer
  • helping you stay in touch with friends and family, or make new friends
  • going to a leisure centre, learning a new skill or taking part in local activities
  • buying support to give your unpaid carer a break from their caring role.
  • equipment that we can loan to you.

You can then choose whether you’d like to have your care arranged by us, or if you’d like to arrange it yourself by receiving a direct payment.

A direct payment gives you the freedom to arrange your own care and support. You’re given money on a pre-paid card and can use it to cover some (or all) of the costs of your social care. Direct payments can only be used for care at home. They can’t be used to cover the cost of residential or nursing homes. You’re advised to make a backup plan in case there are any issues with the care you arrange – for example holiday cover.

NHS continuing healthcare

Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free care, arranged and funded solely by the NHS. This is known as NHS continuing healthcare.

If a health or care practitioner thinks you might need continuing healthcare (CHC), they’ll contact you to arrange an assessment with the CHC team. During the assessment, the team will ask you about your healthcare needs. They may also ask other health and social care staff involved in your care for their views.

The team will look at:

  • what help you need
  • how complex your needs are
  • how intense your needs can be
  • how unpredictable your needs are, including any risks to your health if the right care isn’t provided at the time.

If you’re not eligible for continuing healthcare, the team will have a chat with you about what your other options are. They’ll put you in touch with other organisations that may be able to help.

NHS-funded nursing care

NHS-funded nursing care is when the NHS pays for the nursing care part of your nursing home fees. You might be eligible for this if you’re not eligible for NHS continuing health care but have been assessed as needing care from a registered nurse and live in a nursing home.

You can be assessed for NHS-funded nursing care at the same time as you have your continuing healthcare assessment.

If you fund your care yourself and receive this payment, it should appear on your bill from the nursing home.

Find out more about NHS-funding nursing care.

Money advice

If you’d like free, confidential and local money advice, there are lots of services available in Portsmouth. Visit our Money advice page for more information.

Client finance portal

The client finance portal is an secure online portal that allows social care users or people representing them to access their financial assessment documents. It also allows access to their deferred payment scheme statements.

The portal offers easy instant access to information, meaning documents don’t need to be sent in the post. You can access the portal here.

How it works

You (or the person representing you) must request access via an online form. You will need a valid email address, which will be sent a code to verify.

The system will check the details you’ve provided and match it to the data held in ContrOCC (the system used by our finance team). Once matched, our team will review the application and either authorise or reject it. Security checks will be conducted to ensure access is given to the most appropriate person.

Access will only be given to representatives that hold either:

  • Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Deputyship
  • Appointeeship

Help and support

If you need any help or support with accessing the client finance portal you can refer to these user guides:

Alternatively you can contact the finance team on:

You can make a request for access or to log-into the client finance portal here.