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Allowances for paying for care and support at home in Scotland

If you are going to get care at home following an assessment of your care needs by social work, you may have to pay for some of the help you receive. Social work will decide if you have to pay after looking at your circumstances.

Do I have to pay for care at home in Scotland?

  • If you are over 65 and have been assessed by your council's social work department as needing personal care at home, the council will provide this for you free of charge.
  • If you are under 65 you may have to pay for any personal care services you need, depending on your situation.

Each social work department has its own charging policy, which is usually based on your income and savings. You can ask for a copy of your council's charging policy. You don't have to reveal your financial circumstances if you don't want to, but if you don't provide evidence to the contrary they will assume that you are able to pay any costs yourself.

In addition, different social work departments may have different definitions of what counts as personal care. However, if you are over 65 you should not have to pay for personal care at home that includes:

  • help with washing yourself
  • help with managing continence
  • assistance with eating, managing and preparing a specialist diet (such as pureeing foods)
  • help to move around indoors
  • help with simple medical treatments, for example changing dressings or applying creams.

You may have to pay for cleaning and general home help. Find out about free personal care on the Scottish Government's website.

Will my carer have to pay for my care at home?

If you have a carer, they will not be charged for any services you receive. However, if your carer receives help, such as help with housework in their own home to free up time to care for you, then they may be charged for these services. You can find more information for carers here.

Can I get self-directed support (direct payments)?

If you require care at home, your council may be able to give you money so that you can choose and arrange your own care services. This is called getting self-directed support.

What benefits can I claim?

  • If you are over 65 and have difficulty managing on your own you may be entitled to attendance allowance.
  • If you are under 65 and have difficulty managing on your own you may be entitled to disability living allowance.
  • If someone spends more than 35 hours a week looking after you, they may be entitled to carer's allowance.

You can find out more about benefits if you're disabled and other benefits.

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The important points

  • Your age is one factor in the council's decision to fund your personal care at home.
  • If you are over 65 you should not have to pay for personal care at home that includes washing yourself and managing continence, if the social work team have said you need this help.
  • If you need care at home your council may be able to give you money so you can choose and arrange your own care services.
  • If someone spends more than 35 hours a week looking after you, they may be entitled to carer's allowance.

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