Care Home Fees - Update

On 4th July 2011, the Dilnot Commission published its report on the future of care funding. Demand for care in the current system is outweighing government spending and an increasing number of people, and their families, find themselves having to fund care privately. The independent Commission was set up in July of last year to recommend a fair and sustainable funding system for adult social care in England.

The main recommendations of the Commission’s report, Fairer Care Funding, are:

  1. A person’s lifetime contribution to adult social care cost should be capped at between £25,000 and £50,000, with £35,000 suggested as the appropriate and fair figure. Once the cap has been reached, they would be eligible for full support from the state.
  2. The means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs, should be increased from assets of £23,250 to £100,000.
  3. All those entering adulthood with a care and support need, having been born with this need or developing it in early life, should be eligible for full support from the state rather than being subject to a means test.
  4. People should contribute a standard amount to cover their general living costs, such as food and accommodation, whilst in residential care. The contributions should be based on a judgement of what people can afford and what they might be expected to pay for their day to day living costs if they were living at home. A figure in the range of £7,000 to £10,000 a year is recommended but this will be assessed on an individual basis.
  5. Eligibility criteria should be set on a standardised national basis to improve consistency and fairness, with a more objective assessment scale. There should be portability of assessments, unlike currently when a person may be eligible for assistance under one local authority but if they were to move to another local authority they would not be.

The report recognises the valuable role played by carers and that a better funded social care system will support carers as well as those with a care and support need. The report recommends integration between health and social care, with better alignment of assessment processes between social care, disability benefits and health, to achieve more coherent and aligned care and support.

The report also considers the fact that people are not planning and preparing for later life, recommending an awareness campaign on the cost of care and support and the new funding system.

In December, the Government plans to publish a White Paper bringing together the recommendations of the Dilnot Commission’s report, the views of the Law Commission and the Government’s own vision for adult social care. A Social Care Bill will then follow.

The key for planning for the future is to act early and at a time when the need for care is not foreseeable. By thinking about how you would meet any social care needs you may face in later life, you can ensure that you have sufficient resources and knowledge to achieve the lifestyle you want.

This article updates a previous article of 29th June 2011 on the same subject which you can still find in our news section.

If you would like any more information on planning for care home fees, wills or powers of attorney then please contact Gareth Parry, Kelly O’Brien or Samantha Clarke, who will be more than happy to assist you.