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How your pensions can affect social care costs

By Thu, October 14 2021 2:40 BSTNo Comments


How care is paid for

Social care isn’t free. You might have to pay some or all of the cost of your care.

Your local council will work out how much you can afford to contribute towards your care costs. They’ll look at:

  • any money in, or taken from, your pension pot – either as cash or income
  • any other income you have
  • your assets (such as savings and investments).
Find out more about long-term care options in our guide How to fund your long-term care – a beginner’s guide

How your pension pot is assessed

Retiring later or delaying taking your pension pot

If you leave money in a pension pot, your local council won’t count this when they work out how much you can afford to pay for care.

However, once you’ve reached your State Pension age, your local council will assume you’re receiving an income from your pension.

Your State Pension age is the earliest age you can start receiving your State Pension. To work out your State Pension age go to GOV.UKOpens in a new window

If you don’t take an income, they’ll check how much you’d get if you bought a guaranteed income for life (an annuity). They would then use this amount when they work out your income.

Getting a flexible retirement income

Are you using your pension flexibly by keeping it invested and taking an income from it? Then your local council would look at how much you’d get if you bought a guaranteed income for life (an annuity).

Depending on how much you withdraw from your pot, they might class it as capital or income in the assessment of how much you need to pay towards care costs.

Taking your pension as a number of lump sums

If you take lump sums or your whole pot in one go and put it into savings or invest it, your local council will treat it as an asset and include it when they work out what you can afford to pay.

If you deliberately spend or give away money (including tax-free cash) from your pension pot to get or increase help with care costs, your local council might assess your finances again. They might treat you as still having that money.

Need more information on pensions?

Call our helpline free on 0800 011 3797 or use our webchatOpens in a new window. One of our pension specialists will be happy to answer your questions.


Our help is impartial and free to use, whether that’s online or over the phone.

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This article is provided by the MoneyHelper.