Your home, your assets and your residential care or nursing home fees

If you have to spend some time in a residential care or nursing home, you will have to pay part of your fees. However, this doesn't always mean that you will have to sell your home and other assets. You can get information about your options below.

Assessing your contribution to residential care or nursing home fees

If you live in Northern Ireland and have over £23,250 in capital (savings, investments and property including the value of your home), your local Health and Social Care Trust will assess you as being able to meet the full cost of your residential care or nursing home.

You can get further information at the following link:

If you plan ahead, you can make sure you still have something of value left to leave in your will. There are also ways to avoid selling your home, in case your condition improves and you want to live there again.

What happens if you're a home owner

If you own your home, it may be counted as capital 12 weeks after you move into a residential care or nursing home on a permanent basis. However, your home won't be counted as capital if any of the following people still live there:

  • 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 are a lone parent

Your local Trust may choose not to count your home as capital in other circumstances - for example, if your carer lives there.

Your home and temporary stays in a residential care or nursing home

If you go into a residential care or nursing home temporarily, you will have to make a contribution to the cost. You may not receive a full financial assessment for the first eight weeks, in which case the Health and Social Care Trust will decide a fair contribution for you to make.

For the next four weeks, a financial assessment will be made to decide what you should pay. As your stay is temporary, your home won't be counted as capital.

Keeping your home and assets

Setting up a family trust

Setting up a family trust is one way of transferring the ownership of your home or other assets to someone else while you're still alive. You should get advice from a solicitor on this because the law surrounding trusts is complicated.

Giving money or property to other people

You may choose to give money or assets to your children or grandchildren. There is no monetary limit on gifts to your children, grandchildren or other relatives, but they may have to pay tax on any interest or income they receive.

If you give an asset to someone within the seven years before you die, the person who receives the gift may have to pay Inheritance Tax on it.

It is against the law to transfer ownership of an asset to another person specifically to avoid paying your care home fees.

The Trust may consider that you have deprived yourself of a capital asset in order to reduce your accommodation charge.  If this is found to be the case, the Trust may treat you as still possessing the asset and can recover the cost of your care from you or the person(s) who received the gift.

Inheritance planning

Before you move into a care home permanently, you should plan your inheritance and make a will if you haven't already done so.

Renting out your home

One alternative to selling your home may be to rent it out to tenants and use the rent to pay your care home fees.

Selling your home

If you have to pay the full cost of your care home fees, you may decide to sell your home or other assets.

More useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.