The Government has announced new measures for funding care to ensure that the elderly and those with disabilities get the care they need without facing unlimited costs.
The new measures are based on the recommendations made in 2011 by the Dilnot Commission, an independent panel set up to look at the fairest and most sustainable way to fund care and support in England.
The new measures include, from April 2017:
- A cap on care costs, which gives everyone the reassurance that they will have a level of protection, if they have the most serious needs and incur very high care costs.
- If someone is assessed by their local authority as having eligible care needs, they will be told how much it will cost the local authority to meet those needs with local services. These costs count towards their cap. So, however great a person’s costs become, once they have reached the cap the state will step in and provide financial support.
- Due to the economic circumstances, we are introducing a cap that is equivalent to around £61,000 in 2010/11 prices – slightly above the £25,000-£50,000 range originally recommended by Andrew Dilnot. This is equivalent to £75,000 in 2017/18 prices. We expect up to 16% of older people to face costs of £75,000 or more.
- People of working age who develop care needs before retirement age will benefit from a cap that’s lower than £75,000. People who have care needs before they turn 18 will effectively have their cap set at zero.
- New financial protection for those with modest wealth. People with the least will get the most support.
- Currently only those with assets of less than £23,250 get help with paying for their care costs. Our changes will mean that those with property value and savings of £100,000 (in 2010/11 prices) or less will start to receive financial support, with the Government paying a proportion of their residential care costs on a sliding scale. £100,000 was the amount recommended by Andrew Dilnot, and is equivalent to around £123,000 in 2017/18 prices. The most financial support will go to those with the greatest care needs and the least in savings or home value, and the poorest people will continue to have the majority of their care costs paid.
And from April 2015:
- No-one will have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care. If people cannot afford their fees without selling their home, they will have the right to defer paying during their lifetime.
- People will have clearer entitlements. A national minimum eligibility will make access to care more consistent around the country, and carers will have a legal right to an assessment for care for the first time.
The Government will legislate for these proposals. Subject to the passage of legislation, the changes above will take effect from April 2017 and will provide people with a new legal right to financial protection from very high care costs , from the state, which has not existed previously. The 2017 timing will ensure that these changes are affordable and sustainable for the long term.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
“This is a watershed moment for our country. For too long, the issue of social care has been ducked by successive governments, leading to an unfair system that has seen people selling their homes and losing nearly everything they’ve worked for to pay for their care. With us, that unfairness is ending.
“These historic reforms will give everyone the protection they want in their old age and save the family home. And they prove once again that despite these tough economic times, this government is determined to get behind everyone who has worked hard and done the right thing and aspires to a better life for themselves and their children.”
Find out more about the care and support funding reforms on the Caring for our future website.