Get independent financial advice before agreeing to pay a top-up.
If you choose a care home that costs more than we have allocated for your care, you or someone else will have to make extra payments to cover the shortfall. These are known as ‘top-ups’.
Top-up payments that you make are known as ‘first-party top-ups’. Top-up payments made by someone else are known as ‘third-party top-ups’.
You can pay first-party top-ups for more expensive care if one of these applies. You:
- are in the first 12 weeks of your stay and we aren’t including the value of your home when we work out how much you have to pay (known as the 12-week property disregard)
- have a deferred payment agreement in place – the agreement will include the top-up and how you’re paying it
- move into a care home under section 117 of the Mental Health Act
If you have a deferred payment agreement, you can pay a first-party top-up when due or defer payment with your other care costs.
More than 1 person can pay third-party top-ups. Each person who is paying has to sign an agreement with us to pay the top-ups for as long as you need to stay in the care home.
Each third-party must:
- show us that they can afford to pay the top-ups
- tell us immediately if their circumstances change and they can no longer afford to pay
- give us a minimum of 3 months' notice if they want to stop paying top-ups
If 1 of the third parties tells us that they want to stop paying the top-ups, we will look again at the agreement with all the third parties.
We pay the care home for the total cost of your care and will invoice whoever is paying the top-up. They must make payments every 4 weeks by Direct Debit.
Changes to top-ups
At least once a year, we will look again at:
- how much care you need
- the cost of the care home
- the top-up agreement
If anything changes and the cost of your care increases, we will talk to whoever pays the top-up to get their agreement to the change. We won't automatically reduce the top-up amount if the amount you pay changes because of change in your financial circumstances.
What happens if top-up payments stop
You may have to move to another care home if you or the third-party or parties:
- don’t want to pay an increase
- want to stop paying top-ups
- fail to pay the top-up
We will do another assessment to make sure that the home is suitable for the care you need. We will also make sure it doesn't cost more than we have agreed that you and the council should pay (known as your 'personal budget').
If the third-party fails to pay the top-up, we will collect the debt through our debt-collecting processes.