Employing private care or help at home
Arranging and paying for your own services
Arranging and paying for your own services can be a good way of ensuring you can control the service you receive – whether private care (personal care and support), or general help at home (such as cleaning, shopping, and gardening) - but there are some rules that you need to be aware of.
Paying an individual from your own money
Anyone you wish to pay for doing any work for you, whether casually or for a fixed number of hours a week is effectively an employee. In law, you are an employer, and you are responsible for paying any tax due on the individual’s earnings to HMRC. This applies whoever the person is and includes your relatives; payments for services or work are taxable earnings for everyone.
The Council’s advice in employing a relative for any reason is that you consider carefully if it is in your best interest. Your relative would become your employee, and the bottom line is that you may have to discipline them, and ultimately could have to terminate the contract of employment.
We would also advise you in general not to people who say they are self-employed, because there is a significant risk that HMRC will not accept this status and you may then be liable for the tax that they should have paid.
Being an employer will bring additional responsibilities such as having to provide (for example) holiday pay and sick leave in certain circumstances, or taking out liability and other insurances. New pension rules also mean that if you employ your own worker using, you may now be legally obliged to contribute towards a pension for them.
Paying a company or agency from your own money
Rather than employing people, you could arrange with a company to provide a service, or with an agency who will supply a worker who is paid by them.
If you are using them to provide personal care, this is a regulated service. Although this may mean that you might have to pay a higher cost than if you employed your own personal assistant, it does have the advantage that the service would be delivered to CQC standards.
Although you do not have to have a written contract with them, it would certainly be beneficial for you to have a written record available in order to prove the contract did in fact exist in addition to any agreed terms.
You should also obtain a receipt or evidence of any payments, particularly if you paid in cash, as without any evidence of the work or services supplied and amounts paid, you are placed in a position of vulnerability if you have to make a claim against them.
Paying in addition to Council care services
If you are already receiving a care service at home from the Council. You can in some situations set certain costs against your financial contribution (if any) – this is Disability Related Expenditure.
This may prompt you to arrange for additional care or help at home from your own funds expecting that we will be able to offset these costs as a DRE, whether they are from you employing a person or family member, or contracting with a company or agency.
However, you are strongly advised to check our on-line guidance and/or contact us before proceeding if you are relying on the Council making any sort of allowance for such costs.
More information on DREs can be found at our Disability Related Expenditure webpage.
Contacts and more information
You can get more information on employing such help in our Employing private care or help at home - ASC factsheet 10
Financial Assessments and Contributions;
Community Care Business Unit: email: CHT_CCBU@sandwell.gov.uk
Call: 07341 682547 or
07887 826455 or
07887 893539 or
General adult social care enquiries
Contact Sandwell Enquiry. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Call: 0121 569 2266.