1. A care home is a place where personal care and accommodation are provided together.
2. People may live in a care home for short or long periods. For many people, it is their sole place of residence and so it becomes their home, although they do not legally own or rent it.
3. There are two types of care home:
- Care home without nursing (residential care home);
- Care home with nursing (nursing home).
Care homes for HB purposes
4. For HB purposes a “care home” is separately defined as:
- a “care home” in England;
- a “care home service” in Wales, which is provided wholly or mainly to persons aged 18 or over; and
- a “care home service” in Scotland.
5. In England an establishment is a “care home” if it provides accommodation, together with nursing or personal care, for any of the following persons (unless excluded by relevant law):
- persons who are or have been ill;
- persons who have or have had a mental disorder;
- persons who are disabled or infirm; or
- persons who are or have been dependent on alcohol or drugs.
6. Accommodation is not a care home unless the care which it provides includes required assistance with bodily functions.
7. In Wales a “care home service” is the provision of accommodation, together with nursing or care at a place in Wales to persons because of their vulnerability or need.
8. In Scotland a “care home service” is a service which provides accommodation, together with nursing, personal care or personal support, for persons by reason of their vulnerability or need; but the expression does not include:
- a hospital;
- a public, independent or grant-aided school; or
- a service excepted from this definition by regulations.
Regulation of care homes
9. Care homes, as defined in the relevant legislation, are regulated by:
- the Care Quality Commission (in England);
- the Care Inspectorate Wales; and
- the Care Inspectorate Scotland.
Care homes and benefit entitlement
10. People who are liable to make payments in respect of a care home are not normally eligible for HB. This applies to individuals of working age or pension age.
11. In the first instance the distinction between a “care home” and “exempt accommodation” for HB purposes may be difficult to determine for individuals with high care needs.
12. For a benefit decision-maker it is normally whether or not the accommodation is registered that determines the matter.
13. For UC claimants payments in respect of a care home are excluded from being rent payments for UC calculation purposes.