If you own your own home and still live there, its value isn’t included in the means test.
If you move permanently into a care home, the value of a home you own – or your share of it if you own it jointly – might be counted as capital after 12 weeks.
However, your home won’t count as capital if certain people still live there. They include:
- your husband, wife, partner or civil partner
- a close relative who is 60 or over, or incapacitated
- a close relative under the age of 16 who you’re legally liable to support
- your ex-husband, ex-wife, ex-civil partner or ex-partner if they’re a lone parent.
Your local council or trust might choose not to count your home as capital in other circumstances. For example, if your previous carer lives there and they gave up their home to care for you.
If your home does count as capital, you can opt to make a deferred payment agreement with the local council, subject to meeting qualifying criteria. This means instead of paying your share of the care costs immediately, the local council effectively lends you the money and the debt is repaid when your home is eventually sold.
In Northern Ireland, there is no formal system of deferred payment agreements, although local Health and Social Care Trusts may facilitate this type of arrangement.
If you decide to rent out your property, its value is treated as capital. For the purpose of the means test, the rental income is ignored. However, you could choose to pay the income to the local council to reduce your debt if you have a deferred payment agreement