For Families and Carers : Benefits in residential care

There are several types of residential or nursing care homes, or residential colleges, which people with a learning disability can live in. The rules about getting benefits in this kind of accommodation are very complicated.

However, most people with Down’s syndrome will be receiving:

Some benefits are affected by living in a residential home or a residential care home.

DLA mobility componentPIP mobility component Kept in full
DLA care Component
PIP  care component
Paid for the first 28 days in the college/home, then stopped. It can be paid at a daily rate for any day spent at home. The day someone leaves the college/home, and the day they return, both count as days at home.

Universal Credit


Employment and Support Allowance


Incapacity Benefit


Severe Disablement Allowance/
Income Support

May be taken into account in a local authority financial assessment for contributions towards residential fees. Contribution-based ESA, Incapacity Benefit and Severe Disablement Allowance may be treated differently from income-related ESA, Universal credit and Income Support. Once your benefits have been taken into account to work out the amount you have to pay towards residential fees, the amount of money that you receive can be reduced to the personal expenses allowance which varies slightly between England Scotland and Wales.

However, some local authorities allow people to keep more of their benefit.


If you are considering this kind of accommodation, contact your local Social Services department. You have to be assessed by Social Services as a first step to getting any help with funding residential college or a care home. If it is a residential college, the local education authority will also be involved.

Carer’s Allowance while the person you care for is away

You will not get Carer’s Allowance while the person you care for is away at residential college or in a residential home.

However, you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance for any week where they are at home and you care for them for 35 hours a week or more.  Unlike DLA and PIP, Carer’s Allowance is a weekly benefit.  The week runs from Sunday to Saturday, and time spent preparing for the visit and cleaning up afterwards counts towards the 35 hours.  This means that if the person who you care for comes to stay for a weekend, you may qualify for Carer’s Allowance for the 2 weeks on either side of the weekend visit.

Beware of overpayments of Carer’s Allowance

People on Income Support or income-related Employment and Support Allowance living in residential homes, colleges or supported accommodation may get some extra benefit called the severe disability premium.  It is paid to people getting Disability Living Allowance who count as “living alone”.

However, if there is an ongoing claim for Carer’s Allowance by a parent or carer, and the person with Down’s syndrome comes home, and Carer’s Allowance is claimed while they are visiting, there will be an overpayment of severe disability premium.

To avoid this, end the ongoing claim for Carer’s Allowance, and make backdated claims for Carer’s Allowance, just for the period the person with Down’s syndrome is at home.  Although this seems to be claiming Carer’s Allowance and severe disability premium at the same time, because of how the rules work, there is no over payment if you make a backdated claim for Carer’s Allowance.

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