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19 Community care
9. What benefits may I claim?
If you are moving permanently into residential care, you may qualify for some welfare benefits such as the following:
For more about claiming benefits, contact your local social security office, Jobcentre or, if you are a pensioner, the Pension Service. The Department for Work and Pensions website also has information - see 'Further help'. For more about your rights when claiming benefits, see the Community Legal Service leaflet, 'Welfare Benefits'.
What must my husband or wife do for me?
By law, husbands and wives (called 'liable relatives') must support each other. Your husband or wife's income and capital cannot be taken into account in working out what you have to pay or the benefits you get in residential care. But the council can ask them to pay for some of the cost of your care. This is only for married couples - unmarried partners (and other relatives) are not 'liable relatives'.
There are no rules about how much a liable relative has to pay. Your husband or wife can try to negotiate an amount that seems reasonable. They do not have to give the authorities any information about their income or savings. If they can't reach an agreement, the council may apply through the courts if it really thinks your husband or wife should help with the costs of your care.
None of this should make any difference to the care you get. You must still get the care you need, even if your husband or wife refuses to help pay for it. And the Government has said it will end the liable relatives rule, though it has not yet said when.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Sue Bloomfield, a freelance consumer affairs writer.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet Version: May 2019
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