“I started out with nothing…I still have most of it” – remember this quote as you read this article!
We are currently being bombarded weekly by the media informing us that we are a growing population and part of that is because many of us are living longer. The Office of National Statistics regularly publishes results of life expectancy and the trend is up, up, up.
As a result, there is also a lot of talk about who will care for us when we might find this difficult because of the downside of getting old. Inevitably, many people will need residential care or assistance in the home. In fact, according to Age UK’s website, three quarters of us will need some care as we get older. Who is going to pay for this?
Well the answer, for the most part, is us. You will be expected to pay something towards your care unless you fall within the fairly narrow bracket of requiring NHS continuing care. At the moment, whether you need short- or long-term care, the Local Authority will conduct a means test and, from this, it will be decided how much you should pay towards your care. Quite simply, at the moment, if you have assets of more than £23,250 you will pay the full cost of your care.
The present coalition government, as you may be aware, asked the Dilnot Commission to review the cost of care and make recommendations given the fact that more and more of us will be involved in the care process. From 2016 it is likely that the following will apply:
There will be a £72,000 cap on how much a person has to pay towards care in their lifetime.
There will be a £12,000 cap on how much a person has to pay towards the hotel costs of care each year.
NB: this distinction between care costs and hotel costs is to close the gap between those receiving care in their own homes, where they still have the normal household bills to pay, and those in residential care accommodation.
For those with assets between £23,250 and £118,500 they will be expected to pay towards their care but there will be some subsidy which will be calculated on a sliding scale.
That is the current position but watch this space for updates!
Going back to the quote at the start, care is expensive but the proposals do offer a little comfort at least. Please also take note that, as more people worry about the expense of care home fees, others take advantage of this and develop care home avoidance strategies. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is! We are happy to help with any queries that you might have about this topic, so do not hesitate to get in touch.