If the person you care for is permanently moving into a care home see paying for a care home.
Start by having a carer’s assessment
Ask your local council for a carer’s assessment (or an Adult Carer Support Plan if you live in Scotland). This is a chance to discuss your needs with your local council so they can decide how best to support you.
If you need support then you will agree a support plan with the local council. This care plan may include respite to give you a break from caring. For example, you may use sitting service so that you get a couple of hours to go out.
You should still have a carer’s assessment even if you don’t think you will be able to get any help from the local council to pay for respite. They should still be able to offer you support to ensure your needs are being met.
The person you care for should also have a needs assessment from their local council to see if what support they need. Again if they qualify for support they will agree a support / care plan.
Local council funding
Your local council must carry out a financial assessment to see what you can afford to pay. This only happens after you have had a carer’s assessment to check you need support.
The person you care for will also need to have a financial assessment. This will only happen after they have had a needs assessment to check they need support.
If you qualify for support you can ask the local council to arrange this for you, or you may prefer to do this yourself via a personal budget, direct payment or self-directed support.
Personal budgets, direct payment and self-directed support
You may be able decide how the money to pay for your support plan is spent:
- If you live in England you may be able to get a personal budget.
- If you live in Wales you may be able to get a direct payment.
- If you live in Scotland you may be able to get self-directed support (SDS).
- If you live in Northern Ireland you may be able to get direct payments.
As a carer you will not be charged for any services provided to the person you care for.
In Scotland, neither you nor the person you care for will be charged for replacement care. Replacement care is any paid care that replaces the care you normally give as a carer.
Carers Trust grants
Carers Trust has some grants for carers who need respite. These are called Carers Take Time Out and can offer grants of up to £400 towards the cost of short breaks, respite care and holidays.
You can apply for Carers Take Time Out through your local Carers Trust service. They can explain everything you need to know about who qualifies and help you apply. They may also be able to let you know about other ways to pay for respite. Additionally your local carer service will be able to support in other ways, for example by helping you apply for benefits or putting you in touch with other carers.
Funding from other charities and benevolent funds
If you, or the person you care for, need extra help to pay for respite there are grants, funds, and charities that may be able to help. Many of these can help with a lot more than just respite care:
You can search for grants using the Turn 2 us grants search. You may also be able to get help with the cost of going on holiday – either alone or with the person you care for. Find out more about holidays.
Paying for your own respite
If you don’t qualify for help from your local council you may have to pay for care yourself. This can be called self funding. The person you care for may also have to a pay for their own care.
Remember you should still have a carer’s assessment even if you will have to pay for your own respite care.
Paying for respite care can get expensive so it would be worth seeing if there is any other support available. Contact your local carers service.
Respite for children
Rules about paying for respite care for children are different. Get in touch with Contact a Family for more information.
NHS continuing healthcare doesn’t not specifically provide respite to carers but if the person you care for qualifies it may help pay for the cost of care at home or in a care home.
NHS funded nursing care may be able to pay for the nursing or medical care that the person you care for receives in a care home.
Where to find out more
- See our buying in care guide if you want to buy respite care at home.
- There is more information on paying for carers' breaks and respite care on NHS Choices.
- In Scotland, you can get in touch with with Shared Care Scotland. Shared Care Scotland is a charity that helps carers and their families to find out about respite breaks, and to access funding for breaks if needed.