‘Sneaky’ Changes to England’s Social Care Cap

Social Care Cap

In September this year, the Government set out its new plan to change how adult social care in England is funded. Starting from October 2023, the new lifetime social care cap will be set at £86,000. This covers the amount that anyone in England will need to spend on their personal care. The cap will apply irrespective of a person’s age or income.

They also included a sliding scale update to local authority means-tested financial support, increasing the upper capital limit. This is the threshold at which a person isn’t eligible for local authority support towards social care costs. It will increase from £23,250 to £100,000.

Upon a person reaching the £86,000 cap, the local authority will become responsible for their care costs. From here, they will meet each person’s eligible care and ongoing support needs. Both new and existing social care users can progress towards the cap following eligibility and support need assessments. Although, costs accrued before October 2023 won’t count towards the social care cap.

However, in an announcement yesterday and subject to Parliamentary approval, the Government confirmed their intention to amend this plan. This now means that only the amount that the individual contributes towards their own care costs will count towards the social care cap. Individual financial support from local authorities covering individual care, won’t count.

Shadow Social Care Minister, Liz Kendall said:

“This small print, sneaked out today under a cloud of Tory sleaze, shows Boris Johnson’s so-called cap on care costs is an even bigger con than we initially thought. We already knew most people won’t hit the cap because it doesn’t cover board and lodging in care homes. And that at £86,000, the cap would still mean many people will have to sell their homes to pay for their care. Against everything Boris Johnson promised.”

“That this Tory government has failed to be straight with those who’ve given so much to our country is a total disgrace. But utterly unsurprising. Our elderly people deserve better.”

In response to the proposed changes on the social care cap, Caroline Abrahams, Charity Director at Age UK said:

“The Government was already under fire for making the design of its cap insufficiently progressive. But their proposed change tilts the balance further away still from providing this kind of support to the older people who need it the most. Those who have built up some assets over their working lives but are still by no means well off, plus those older people living on their state pension with few if anyone savings at all.”

“When this change is factored in it becomes clear that the cap will disproportionately benefit those living in the south, rather than the north, where house prices are that much lower; flying in the face of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda. Its practical impact is that fewer older people will be able to pass on an inheritance to their loved ones in poorer areas than had been hoped because their care bills will take all the money they have. And that’s a real shame.”

Everyone will have a care account designed to keep track of their progress towards the social care cap. Local authorities will provide regular care account statements and discuss with each person, how their needs will be met. Details and information surrounding care account statements will be set out in the Government’s consultation. MPs will vote next week on whether to support the amendment.

 

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