Independent financial advice about funding social care in later life – a project exploring evidence and practice

Kate Baxter Completed   2018


Social care is means-tested and seems likely to remain so. This results in a significant proportion of the population ‘self-funding’ – paying for care from their own resources. Research on self-funders suggests that one of the issues they find most confusing is finances. This includes the rules about eligibility and paying for care, concerns about protecting assets for inheritance and worries about how long resources will last. Few seek financial advice to help plan for paying for care.


The study aimed to explore evidence and practice, and stimulate debate regarding independent financial advice about funding social care in later life.


The research team reviewed published UK empirical research evidence and English policy on provision of financial advice for funding later life care from 1997 to 2017.

Interviews with 15 members of the public (who had researched care costs for themselves or a relative and sought financial advice) and 21 professionals (regulated financial advisers, information services, care providers and local council financial assessment officers) explored their experiences of receiving, giving and signposting advice. Fourteen representatives from the adult social care or financial services sector gave their views on strategic and policy issues.

A discussion day towards the end of the project brought together interviewees and other professionals to discuss the emerging findings and future collaborations.


  • Regulated financial advice can produce greater financial security and engender a sense of agency and empowerment in those using it
  • Reluctance to plan and lack of understanding about how financial advisers can help with planning for care costs act as barriers to seeking advice
  • Gaps in adult social care organisations’ knowledge about the financial sector, and vice versa, can result in cross-sector mistrust and lack of, or inappropriate, signposting. Different interpretations of definitions and rules, and uncertainty over future policy direction, make developing better practice challenging
  • Few national policy documents in England make reference to financial advice in relation to social care, providing a weak framework from which practice can develop.


Animated film



Infographic poster


Resources are available on the gettinginformed website.

Independent financial advice about funding social care in later life
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Pubs page