Income Support for Residential Accommmodation
- For people on a low income.
- If you are living in a home permanently, savings over £16,000 usually mean you cannot get Income Support (£12,000 if your stay is temporary).
- If you already get Income Support it may change if you go to live in a home.
- aged 16 or over?
- on a low income?
- Living in a residential care home or nursing home?
If you answered YES to all these questions, claim Income Support.
(To see if you are on a low income for Income Support or if you are not sure about the effect of your savings, contact The Pension Service)
If you have recently come from abroad or returned from abroad, you can take a look at the Department for Work and Pensions website for some extra rules that may apply to you.
You may be able to get Income Support even if you get help from your social services department, but they will count it when they work out how much you must pay towards the fees.
Permanent stays in a home
- If you are living in a home permanently and your partner does not live there with you, your Income Support will usually be looked at separately. Your partner may have to pay towards the cost of you living in the home. This will depend on your partner's savings and income. (We use partner to mean a person you are married to or a person you are living with as if you are married to them.)
- Savings over £10,000 affect how much Income Support you can get.
- If your savings include the value of your former home, this amount can sometimes be ignored:
- Your former home will be ignored if your partner, a relative who is aged 60 or over, or a relative who is sick or disabled lives there.
- If you are trying to sell your former home, it will also be ignored for up to 6 months, sometimes longer. You will not have to pay back benefit you received during this time.
Temporary stays in a home
- If your stay in a home is temporary, Income Support will usually be worked out for you and your partner together.
- If you get Income Support together, your partner must be working an average of less than 24 hours a week or not working.
- Your partner's income and savings will affect Income Support you get together.
- Savings over £3,000 affect how much Income Support you can get.
- The value of your home is ignored.
Claim straight away. If you delay you may lose benefit.
Contact The Pension Service to claim. It is important that we can be sure of your identity when you make a claim. We may need to ask you about your background and look at any official documents you have to support the information you give.
I go into hospital or someone I claim for goes into hospital?
You must tell The Pension Service as soon as you go into or come out of hospital. You must also tell us if someone you get benefit for goes into or comes out of hospital.
As soon as you go into hospital
If you go into hospital from a local council residential care home, your Income Support will usually reduce to £15.10.
After 4 weeks
If you have a partner and get a Severe Disability Premium, this will usually reduce to £42.25 a week. If you do not have a partner, your Severe Disability Premium will stop.
After 6 weeks
You will still get any help with housing costs you are entitled to and any money paid because you have dependent children. This includes the Family Premium.
If you are single or a lone parent, Income Support paid for you will reduce to £18.90 a week.
If you have a partner and one of you is in hospital, your Income Support will reduce by £15.10 a week.
If you and your partner are both in hospital, Income Support paid for you and your partner will reduce to £37.80 a week.
After 12 weeks
If you get extra money for a dependant who is in hospital, the extra money will reduce to £15.10 a week.
If you get help with housing costs, we will look at them to see if they should continue. We will do this every 12 weeks if you are still in hospital.
After 52 weeks
If you are single or a lone parent who we no longer treat as responsible for your children, your Income Support will reduce to £15.10 a week.
If you are single or a lone parent who is no longer treated as responsible for your children, your Income Support will reduce to £15.10.
Your Income Support may be reduced by more if the people looking after you do not think you can make full use of this money each week. Any extra money you get for housing costs will stop.
If you or your partner are in hospital, you will both need to make a separate claim for Income Support. Your partner's claim will be worked out separately.
I go to live abroad or visit?
Let us know as soon as you can that you are going abroad. You can usually do this by contacting The Pension Service.
If you are going abroad permanently you cannot get Income Support.
If your stay abroad is temporary, you may be able to get Income Support for the first 4 weeks you are abroad.
You can only do this if you are unlikely to be abroad for more than 52 weeks, would still qualify for Income Support if you had stayed in the United Kingdom, and one of the following applies to you:
- you are incapable of work because of sickness or disability and you have gone abroad only for treatment for that sickness or disability
- you have been incapable of work for 364 days when you go abroad
- you get a pensioner premium or disability premium for a partner who is going abroad with you.
You may be able to get Income Support for the first 8 weeks if:
- you, or you and a member of your family, are going abroad only to help a dependant who is going abroad for medical treatment from a qualified person, and
- you are unlikely to be abroad for more than 52 weeks, and you would still qualify for Income Support if you had stayed in the UK.
Most benefits are affected if you are going abroad. You can get more information about certain countries through the Department for Work and Pensions website.
I am part of a service family abroad or visiting?
The rules for going abroad are the same as for anyone else going abroad. See above.
If I start work but my sickness or disability means I have to stop again?
If you start work but have to stop within 52 weeks because of your sickness or disability, you may be able to go back onto Income Support at the same amount you got before you started working.
To be able to do this:
- you must have been sick for at least 28 weeks and
- you must have started work or training within 7 days of getting Income Support and
- your other circumstances must still be the same.
You must let your social security office know you have started work or training within one month of the date you start.
You cannot get protection if your benefit stopped because of a medical test.
I start voluntary work?
You can do as much voluntary work as you like. Your Income Support will not be affected as long as you do not receive any pay other than to pay for expenses like fares or special clothing you need for the voluntary work.
Your Income Support will not be affected if it is reasonable for the person or organisation you are doing the voluntary work for not to pay you.
If it is unreasonable not to pay you, we will reduce your Income Support by an amount you could expect to be paid for the work you are doing, even though you are not being paid.
You must tell The Pension Service if you do any voluntary work. You must also tell us if you are paid in any way. This includes things that are sometimes called payment in kind. This could be something like meal vouchers.
You can read or print the leaflet Help if you live in a residential care or nursing home [GL15] - [PDF file size 75kb] from the Department for Work and Pensions website.
Contact The Pension Service for more information or to order leaflets.
Residential care and nursing homes
Disability Living Allowance on the Department for Work and Pensions website
Attendance Allowance on the Department for Work and Pensions website
Carers Allowance on the Department for Work and Pensions website
Housing Benefit on the Department for Work and Pensions website
Council Tax Benefit on the Department for Work and Pensions website
Living overseas? Read our frequently asked questions section.
More help on other benefits
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Remember that this website is only a general guide to benefits and schemes, and is not a full and authoritative statement of the law.