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What happens if I run out of funds and can't pay my care home fees?

Contact West Sussex County Council

Contact us four to six months before your investments and savings reduce to below £23,250 (or sooner if possible). We will refer you to a welfare benefits adviser for an initial review. 


Phone: 01243 642121

Call using Relay UK: 18001 01243 642121 (from a textphone or the NGT Lite app downloaded onto a computer, tablet or smartphone).

Talk to your care provider

We also recommend that you talk to your care provider to explain your situation.  

If the care home which you are living in has a contract with the Council, (or is willing to enter into a contract), you may be able to receive funding from the Council if the home’s fee is within the amount of financial support that has been agreed for you – this is your personal budget.

If the care fee is above your personal budget, your social care worker may ask if someone (known as a third party) such as a friend, relative or charity is willing to pay the difference and is able to do so for the likely duration of your stay in the care home. This is known as a ‘third-party top-up’.

If a third-party top-up cannot be arranged, the Council will attempt to renegotiate the care fees with the care provider. This may include considering moving to a different room in the same home which can be funded within the personal budget.

If these options are not possible the Council may need to explore a move to an alternative home where your needs can be met within the personal budget.

Find out if you can avoid running out of funds

This can be a difficult and unsettling situation to face and is one of the reasons why we recommend people seek independent advice from a care fees specialist, at the earliest opportunity, and preferably, before you move into your care home.

There are products available which can give you peace of mind that your care fees can be paid for the duration of your stay, but these may not be suitable for everyone. A care fees specialist can review your situation and recommend the best course of action for your personal and financial circumstances.

Further information

Which? – Self-funding a care home

Money Helper – Paying your own care costs if you’ve used all your savings

Last updated: 20 May 2024