Following the election and subsequent Queen’s Speech there is further uncertainty over what the future holds for care charges for the elderly.
The Conservative Party’s 2017 manifesto contained a pledge that, for the first time, the value of a person’s residential property would be included in the means testing eligibility process where they receive care in their own home.
According to the manifesto, provision was also to be made to ensure no-one living in the UK is forced to sell their property during their lifetime in order to fund residential or in-home care. Instead, where there were insufficient cash assets to pay for care without a sale of the property, payment would be deferred until after the person receiving the care has passed away.
Whilst not widely reported in the build up to the election, such rules are already in place for those receiving care in a residential or nursing home but the proposals would have extended these rules to those receiving care in their own home.
The Conservative Party also said that it would increase the amount of wealth each individual is allowed to accumulate – in terms of both savings and the value of their home – from the current £23,250 to £100,000 before that individual has to contribute towards the cost of their care from their capital.
The proposals within the manifesto were, however, seen as one of the reasons why the Conservative Party failed to achieve an outright majority in the recent election and the Queen’s Speech simply referred to their intention to put forward proposals on care funding for consultation, without providing any indication of what those proposals might be.
Tim Steele, a Partner with Palmers who specialises in older client care funding issues, commented: “The existing rules around care funding are complex, with many failing to obtain the state help to which they should be entitled, often as a result of a lack of advice and with even those who pay no more than required under the rules feeling as though the system is unfair.
“There have been a number of consultations and proposals about how to reform the system in recent years and – as the Conservative Party have discovered in recent weeks – it has so far proved impossible to find a system which everyone agrees is fair.
“With the increasing financial strain on the NHS and social care system, the proposal contained within the Conservative manifesto that the value of each individual’s home would be assessed for care received at home – whereas presently this is not the case – would suggest that, even if the system is reformed, there will be an increase in the number of people who have to fund, or part-fund, the cost of their care.
“It seems that the question of how social care is to be paid for, remains as controversial and confusing as ever.
“Anyone who is concerned that they or a family member are paying more for their care than should be the case, should contact our Older Client team for advice.”
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