12. Choice of accommodation and top up payments
The cost of accommodation
The Council will use your assessment and support planning to identify your personal budget – the amount of money that the Council would expect to pay to for care and support to meet your assessed needs.
- For care home accommodation, the Council will identify the expected cost of your accommodation based on the amount that we would normally pay to meet your assessed needs in a residential or nursing home, reflecting the local market conditions.
- For supported accommodation, the housing costs are normally separate to your care and support package. You would own or rent your accommodation and pay for this independently (claiming Housing Benefit and using this to pay the landlord of a shared house if you had a tenancy agreement, for example). We will work with you to make sure you have suitable accommodation for your care and support needs to be met.
- For Extra Care Housing, the Council identify the expected cost of your accommodation as part of your care and support package. This is based on the amount that we would normally pay to meet your assessed needs, reflecting the local market conditions.
When establishing how much the Council would expect to pay for your care and support, we will take account of your individual circumstances such as medical, cultural or dietary needs, to ensure that your needs can be properly met. For some people, such as those with complex learning disabilities, their personal budget may need to be much higher to take account of their need for more specialist support.
Choosing more expensive accommodation
- Care homes: if your preferred care home is more expensive than your personal budget for your assessed needs, you will be advised of the higher cost of your choice. You will be given the opportunity to make an alternative choice that fits within your personal budget, or to put an arrangement in place to meet the additional cost.
- Supported accommodation: because you pay housing costs for supported accommodation (Supported Living, Extra Care Housing, a Shared Lives setting) independently, you may choose more expensive accommodation than we would consider sufficient to meet your assessed needs.
If your choice of more expensive supported accommodation means that we will need to pay more to meet your assessed needs than your personal budget (for example, if a Supported Living arrangement includes more expensive “background care” as part of the placement), you will be advised of the higher cost of your choice. You will be given the opportunity to make an alternative choice that fits within your personal budget, or to put an arrangement in place to meet the additional cost.
You have a right to choose your accommodation, subject to your personal budget, and the Council will ensure that you are given the opportunity to do so in accordance with the statutory requirements91.
Paying for more expensive accommodation
If your preferred accommodation meets all other requirements, we will support you to move to that accommodation that costs more than your personal budget says we would expect to pay for your assessed needs, provided that one of the following applies:
- you can arrange for a third party to pay the additional amount - known as the Third-Party Top-Up
- you can pay the additional amount from your own resources - a ‘First-Party Top-Up’.
The rules about the situations where you can pay the additional amount yourself are shown in the following sections.
- 91. Clause 8.36 and 8.37 of the Care and Support Statutory Guidance and the Choice of Accommodation Regulations 2014.