Residential care or Supported Living?


Just a quick question. My son (20) lives in accommodation that the providers describe as ‘supported living’. The ethos of the provision is that individuals work towards independence. However, the local authority class the residence as ‘residential care’ and charge my son accordingly (requiring him to pay all but £24 90 per week towards the funding of his placement).

Up to now, I never questioned the request for my son to contribute towards his placement. The weekly amount he had to pay was relatively small and I took care of it, so that he had more money to spend on activities that contribute to his independence (driving lessons, leisure activities, clothing and so on).

However, there has been a massive increase in the amount he has been asked to pay. This has been caused by a change to his benefits. This means I will not be able to pay the full amount requested.

I mentioned the issue to the manager of the accommodation and he said he would raise it with the LA and see if the sum could be negotiated on the grounds that the accommodation was ‘supported living’ not ‘residential care’.

On a practical level, I could split the sum with my son (he pays half and I pay half) however, I am beginning to wonder what constitutes residential care.

He has a room and there are therapeutic activities available. The provision also gives resident £30 p/w to buy their own food, but they cook, clean and so on independently.

Welcome to the forum,

I had the identical problem when my son (now 40) moved from a registered care home to “supported living”. I can guide you through what to do. Who is the provider? (Send me a personal message if you don’t want to put this on the main forum).

Firstly, go to the Care Quality Commission website and search to see if the “home” is registered. An easy process.
If it’s registered as a care home, then CQC are responsible for ensuring that it meets all the current standards, and your son would end up with a “personal allowance” or “pocket money” of around £30 a week.

How many people live in the same house as your son?
Do you have a “Parents Group”?
Who is your son’s DWP “appointee”?
What benefits are currently being claimed on his behalf?
Does he ever come back to you at the weekend?
Who arranged the placement?
What does the paperwork say?
There should have been a formal financial assessment, reviewed annually, done by the council.
You should have a WRITTEN explanation of the amount being charged.

Thank you for responding so promptly. I have checked and the home is registered as a ‘care home’, so I think that sort of answers my question. I have been sent a letter which breaks down the charge and explains why it has increased. I think it was just the comment that the accommodation was ‘supported living’ that threw me a little.

That said, my son is able to stay with his family when he wants to stay (he chooses not to) and he has a great deal of autonomy. Yet there are staff at the residence 24/7 and therapeutic activities provided, so there is an element of care.

I have never heard of a parents’ group. There are six residents in the home, and their ages range from 20 to 70, but the majority are younger adults (late 20’s and 30’s). I have regular meetings with my son and staff at the home, but I have never met any of the other residents’ relatives.

I deal with my son’s correspondence with respect to fees and the DWP, but he manages his own finance. As stated, I have been paying his component of the fees up to now, but I think I may ask him to pay half due to the increase.

Hi Janet.

For the basics … residential care or supported living … over to MENCAP :


What is the difference between a residential care home & supported living ?

I trust the above will prove useful ?


if you are the DWP appointee, then you should be dealing directly with the council as far as fees are concerned.

As appointee you are required by DWP to ensure that it is all being spent properly on him, or you could be liable to 7 years imprisonment.

You should not be paying ANYTHING toward his care at all now he is an adult.

Does he get the Mobility component of DLA/PIP? If so, did you know that it is not assessed as being income?

If the home feel that he doesn’t have enough money left for activities, then that is an issue you can take up with the LA directly. The amount of about £30 a week pocket money is suitable for an elderly person, not a fit young man!


Thank you Chris and Bowling Bun.

The more I find out about this caring business, the more confusing it becomes. The information from Mencap was very useful and clarifies the fundamental difference between residential care and supported living. Yet I think there may be issues of what really is appropriate for my son.

There is talk of him moving into some supported flats in the near future. I wanted him to be able to save a little for a few personal bits and pieces, but that will not be possible on less than £30 a week. Maybe that is the argument that should eb put forward. However, I doubt the LA will take that on board.

Your welcome.

Over to BB and others to pad out the day to day considerations.


Firstly, can you give a few more details about the nature of your son’s disability.
Can he walk? Yes/No
Can he go out safely by himself?

The council take his benefits, less the pocket money amount of about £30, to use towards the cost of his care.
BUT they MUST do a financial assessment, explaining to you, as appointee, just how they have arrived at this figure, in writing.

How much have they allowed for DRE - Disability Related Expenditure? (Look on Google for info although the authority should have explained all this to you anyhow).
What have you claimed for?

If your son moves into his own place, various set up grants are available. I can’t be more specific, as I saved some money from his Mobility Allowance each week to build up a “nest egg” - only that meant he wasn’t then eligible for grants. (Had I known about them, I would have managed the money differently!

Hope that helps. Feel free to ask more.


Thank you,

Yes, my son can walk. He does go out on his own but he is very vulnerable. The home claims a substantial amount each week for 1:1 support. I do not think he gets a mobility component in his benefit. He gets the supported group allowance of ESA.

He has a diagnosis of autism and experiences psychosis, so his ability to cope fluctuates.

I am not his appointee, that is to say, I am not in charge of his finances. I do receive correspondence from the LA and the DWP on his behalf because some types of correspondence do cause his distress.

I elected to pay his contribution, so that he could use his money to do the things he needed to do to build up his independence. However, with the increase, I can no longer pay the full amount.

I think he does need a new financial assessment which considers his needs as a 20 year old who is working towards more independent living.


Full sp including current rates :

Comes with conditions … best read and digest those !

( ESA … normally associated with seeking work … is this the reality here ? )

I suspect he should be receiving the highest level mobility component of PIP.

Please become his appointee, so that you can protect him from financial abuse, and also distress.

One day, you won’t be around to help him with his money, so it’s really important that he learns to live within his means. The way things are at the moment, you are really only saving Social Services money.

Who “helps” him manage his money at the home?!?!
When auditors did a check on my son’s money, some years ago, they found that £2,500 had been misappropriated. This is part of a larger story.


Just in case it’s needed … full sp :

Personal Independence Payment (PIP): What PIP is for - GOV.UK

A snippet :


You must be aged 16 or over and have not reached State Pension age to claim.

You must also have a health condition or disability where you:

have had difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) for 3 months.

expect these difficulties to continue for at least 9 months (unless you’re terminally ill with less than 6 months to live).

You must have lived in England, Scotland or Wales for at least 2 of the last 3 years, and be in one of these countries when you apply. If you’ve recently returned from living in another EEA country, you might be able to get PIP sooner.

The process is different in Northern Ireland.

You can get PIP whether you’re working or not.

You cannot get PIP and Armed Forces Independence Payment at the same time.

There are additional rules if you live abroad or if you’re not a British citizen.


My son’s social worker rang me yesterday to ask a little more about the situation. The home had contacted him after I spoke to the manager about the situation.

I realised, through the conversation, that actually, I do not know how much money my son receives in benefit. I attend to his on line UC journal. He is not required to look for work, but needs the occasional update. I receive the invoice for his contribution to fees from the LA because those types of official correspondence cause my son anxiety and occasionally, i help him out in the same way that I help out my youngest son.

Yet, I do not know who, if anyone, helps him with budgeting and other matters.

The social worker said another financial assessment will be arranged and I have asked to be present (my son finds these formal meetings difficult).