Recently the government unveiled its plans for a £72,000 cap on elderly care costs from 2016. Apparently, according to government ministers the problems of huge bills for care, had been solved.
But as politicians and campaigners begin to process the details it is becoming apparent that all is not quite as it seems, perhaps those claims were a little premature, inaccurate or simply put, wrong.
One of the measures praised by ministers was the fact that the bill individuals received could be deferred by getting councils to pay for the care and then allowing them to recoup it from an individual’s estate after their death.
Under the new changes every council would have to offer this option, which had previously only been available in some areas. However, it has now been established that the option of deferring payments will not be open to wealthier people. The only people able to use this option are those needing residential care who possess assets of less than £23,250 (excluding the value of their home), only this group will be able to get their local council to pay the costs.
The £72,000 cap doesn’t include the amount an individual pays for the “hotel costs” of a care home, the cost of living on a daily basis such as food, energy bills and of course, accommodation.
Essentially this means as far as these new implementations come into effect: The poorest members of society will continue to get social care free as they do now.
But those with assets people whose assets exceed £118,000 (including the value of property) will be liable for care home costs until they reach the £72,000 cap or their assets fall below the £118,000-mark.
It means those with assets of between £150,000 and £200,000 face losing between a third and nearly a half of their in care costs.
That compares to 0% for people with below £17,000 and a sixth for those with £500,000. Those even wealthier than that lose even less.
The middle-income sector is the biggest loser under this new policy, does this cap really fit?