Care Homes

Definitions of care homes

1. A “care home” is separately defined as:1The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006/213 reg 2(1) def: “care home“; The Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006/214 reg 2(1) def: “care home“; Universal Credit Regulations 2013/376, sch 1, para 1 def: “care home

  1. a “care home” in England;2Care Standards Act 2000 s 3 
  2. a “care home service” in Wales, which is provided wholly or mainly to persons aged 18 or over;3Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 part 1 and
  3. a “care home service” in Scotland.4Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 sch 12 para 2

In England 

2. 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):5Care Standards Act 2000 s 3(1)-(2) 

  1. persons who are or have been ill;
  2. persons who have or have had a mental disorder;
  3. persons who are disabled or infirm; or
  4. persons who are or have been dependent on alcohol or drugs.

3. Accommodation is not a care home unless the care which it provides includes required assistance with bodily functions.6Care Standards Act 2000 s 121(9), 3(1)-(2)

In Wales

4. 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.7Regulation and Inspection of Social Care (Wales) Act 2016 s 2(1)(a), (2); sch 1 para 1(1)

In Scotland

5. 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:8Public Services Reform (Scotland) Act 2010 sch 12 para 2

  1. a hospital;
  2. a public, independent or grant-aided school; or
  3. a service excepted from this definition by regulations.

Regulation of care homes

6. Care homes, as defined in the relevant legislation, are regulated by:

  1. the Care Quality Commission (in England);
  2. the Care Inspectorate Wales; and
  3. the Care Inspectorate Scotland.

Care homes and benefit entitlement

7. 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.9The Housing Benefit Regulations 2006/213 reg 9(1)(k); 9(4)(a); The Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for state pension credit) Regulations 2006/214 reg 9(1)(k); 9(4)(a)

8. For UC claimants payments in respect of a care home are excluded from being rent payments for UC calculation purposes.10Universal Credit Regulations 2013/376, sch 1, para 3(d)

9. 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. 

10. For a benefit decision-maker it is normally whether or not the accommodation is registered that determines the matter.

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