Commitment on care costs is good news

We are encouraged by the reports that the Government are planning for a maximum £35,000 cap on how much people pay towards their social care in England.

In July the Department of Health announced social care reforms.

But behind the scenes it seemed many in Government were still unconvinced about the need to limit the catastrophic costs of care that many people face including people with Parkinson's.

Growing crisis

In May this year, we, as part of the Care and Support Alliance, called on the Prime Minister to act on the growing crisis in the social care system.

This was a call we echoed from the Dilnot Commission and the Law Commission. They gave the Government a roadmap to change the funding structure that would help to produce a fair and sustainable system of care.

It is clear the Prime Minister has heeded this call with the reports that he and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg are determined to push the cap through.

However, it is reported the earliest this will be implemented is 2017. The delay is disappointing so we are keeping the pressure up to push for these plans sooner rather than later.

What do we mean by a cap?

Unlike the NHS, social care is means tested. This means people can face unlimited costs as the state will only completely fund someone's care once they have less than £14,250 in the bank.

People who need to move into residential care often have to sell their homes to fund their care, with 1 in 10 people needing care end up spending £100,000 on their needs.

While a system like the NHS and funded by tax has been ruled out by government, the Dilnot Commission proposals went some way to making the costs more bearable for people. They suggested that the maximum someone who is means tested would pay is £35,000 on their care.

Not everyone would have to pay £35,000 for their care before the state stepped in to help with the costs. Also, a new means test in residential care would mean people could keep more of their assets.

People would still have to pay towards accommodation costs in residential care, however, a move towards limiting the costs is welcome.

Vision and courage

Donna O'Brien, our Policy and Campaigns Advisor said:

"We are pleased the Government is starting to listen to those who are currently left in desperate circumstances.

"Politicians of all parties have ducked the issue of care funding for decades so it will take vision and courage to see a cap on care costs through.

"However, it could still be many years before this relief reaches the most vulnerable.

"Reform is needed urgently as many people with Parkinson's and their families are already suffering with ruinous costs of care."

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