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Cost of Care Homes - Does anyone understand how 'Top Up Fees' work?


Registered User
Mar 19, 2015

I am currently trying to decide between two Care Homes for my Mum - both are excellent and offer very similar facilities, levels of care, activities etc. However one is £125 per week more expensive (but in a better location). My mum will be privately funded as we need to sell her home to fund her care. Eventually (in 4-5 years) the money will run out and Social Services will have to be involved and make an assessment.

I am struggling in trying to understand how much they will contribute to the cost of a Care Home and how we will meet the extra cost involved.

Can anyone offer any information or experiences they have with this??:confused:

Thanks so much for taking the time...


Registered User
Jun 27, 2006
When you are self-funded, top-up fees don't come into the equation: you pay the full bill. Now when your mother gets the point where the LA will contribute financially, that where top-up fees may come into play. Basically the LA will have a set amount that they will contribute. However there is some wiggle room here in that your mother's needs may be greater and thus they should assess for her needs. The LA must be willing to source a home that will accept their rate and provide for her assessed care - if they cannot they must up their rate, not expect you to pay a top up.

If your mother is settled and happy in a home, you could attempt to make the case that moving her when she ceases to be self-funding will be detrimental to her health and emotional well-being, and those factors must be considered. As must her right to a family life (as in relative ease of access to visit). But it's an art not a science. Do please bear in mind that that she will be expected to contribute her pensions (less the personal expense allowance). If there are two homes and one is cheaper (or accepts the LA rate) you might find it difficult to avoid her being moved unless you are prepared to pay a top-up.

When you say "better location" what do you mean by that exactly? Easier to visit or what? Do bear in mind that both of these homes may not accept the LA rate. Have you asked them what the going LA rate is and if they accept it as payment in full? My mother's home did (even though the LA rate was £250 a week less than the LA rate). And this brings me to my other point: we never got to this point as my mother died fairly soon after moving to the nursing home. Further, a few months after she died, the home suffered a catastrophic fire (no lives lost thank goodness) so all residents had to move anyway. In other words, no matter how you plan, fate may take over.


Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
Radcliffe on Trent
I would echo Jennifer's last point. My mum would also have been self-funding for at least 4 years, and we did discuss with our preferred home what might happen after that. Their position was that if a resident had been there for 3 years the home would accept the LA rate as soon as the resident became eligible to avoid the need to move.

But we lost mum only a few months after she moved in, and my advice would be to take advantage of the freedom of choice being a self-funder gives you and choose the best place for your mum now. Nobody knows what happens next.

If you need another reason, the new Social Care Act is changing the landscape soon and nobody knows yet how this is going to work out in practice. In 4 years time things could be very different.


Registered User
Apr 6, 2011
North Manchester
"Eventually (in 4-5 years) the money will run out and Social Services will have to be involved and make an assessment."

If the LA know she is self funding they should make an assessment of care needs during the year commencing on April 1st., I suspect many LAs will have to start using a third party to do this.

This will enable the LA estimated costs of the assessed needs to be set against the person's annual and lifetime caps commencing 01/04/2016. Also from this date first party top ups by self funders will be allowed.


Registered User
Mar 19, 2015
Thanks for taking the time to respond - it has been useful to read your replies.

I preferred the more expensive home in the 'better location' as it had a more rural aspect, was close to a small market town for visiting etc and was easy to me to visit regularly. I have now made the decision to go with this one and not worry too much about the future ..... I will deal with financial issues when necessary .... as you say no one knows what the future holds.

I appreciate that my mum is in a better position than many people in being able to self-fund her care initially.:)