Individuals’ lifetime contributions towards their social care costs – which are currently potentially unlimited – should be capped. After the cap is reached, individuals would be eligible for full state support. This cap should be between £25,000 and £50,000. We consider that £35,000 is the most appropriate and fair figure;
The means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs, should be increased from £23,250 to £100,000;
National eligibility criteria and portable assessments should be introduced to ensure greater consistency; and
All those who enter adulthood with a care and support need should be eligible for free state support immediately rather than being subjected to a means test.
The Commission estimates that its proposals – based on a cap of £35,000 – would cost the State around £1.7billion.
Information about care support and options
The report recognises that carers need better information about the care options open to them. The report says; “we have heard that carers struggle to find out about the support available to them because of a lack of good information and advice. Carers can be making significant financial decisions, and without proper advice they may not always make the best choices. For example, if a carer was aware of the options around home care, it might be possible to avoid having to move the person they are caring for into much more expensive residential care. We also know that, even where information is available, people sometimes need help interpreting it and advice on the best way forward.
“Carers and their representative organisations have called for much improved information and advice. In light of this, we are recommending that better support for carers must be a key component of an improved information and advice service. Carers need to be signposted to people and organisations that can provide support – both as they begin to care and at all stages of the caring pathway.
Among the other recommendations in today’s report are:
People should contribute a standard amount to cover their general living costs, like food and accommodation, in residential care;
Universal disability benefits should continue, but Attendance Allowance should be rebranded so people understand its purpose;
An awareness campaign should be launched to help people understand the system and engage with it;
Carers should be supported by improved assessments which aim to ensure that the impact on the carer is manageable and sustainable; and
The deferred payment offer should be extended so it is available to everyone, wherever they live.
In addition to funding the proposed reforms, the Commission said that additional public funding for the current means-tested system is urgently required.
The Government will publish their White Paper on the issue which will set out their policies.