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Read more articles in: News, Rachel Blackburn

Care costs cap faces further two-year delay

The two-year delay in bringing in the much-awaited £86,000 cap on care costs has left people concerned about their later life planning.

In the November Autumn Statement, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, announced that the proposed cap of £86,000 on the amount an individual could be charged for their social care, would be postponed for two years, with some commentators expressing fears that the care costs cap may be abandoned altogether.

Here, Rachel Blackburn, Head of Mander Hadley’s Wills, Probate and Older Client Services department, explains the current situation and how the new proposals may not necessarily be the solution to preserving a family’s assets:

The current care costs tariff:

  • Savings and other assets of less than £23,250 – you will not be expected to pay anything towards your care fees – either in your own home or if you need to go into a residential home
  • Savings and assets of more than £23,250
    • If you need care in your own home you will be means tested and will be expected to contribute towards the cost of care. Importantly, the value of your home is excluded when working out if you need to contribute
    • If you need to move permanently into a residential care home and you have savings and assets valued at more than £23,250 (including the value of your home) and you do not have a spouse or any dependent living there, you will be expected to pay towards the cost of your residential care and this will include selling your property

What about top up fees?

Many relatives are concerned what will happen when the money from the sale of their elderly family member’s property runs out.

If there is a shortfall between the cost of the care home’s fees and the amount a local authority is willing to pay, then relatives will be asked to meet the shortfall. The alternative could see an elderly relative being moved by the local authority to a less expensive residential home.

Would the care fee cap have solved all these problems?

Even when/if the cap is bought in, it is not necessarily the good news that many people expect. The proposed limit on care costs is meant to be a lifetime cap.

However, some have pointed out that the current proposed legislation plans to exclude certain costs with family members again being expected to pay top up fees.

At Mander Hadley, we have produced a guide on ‘Paying for Care’ which is available to download for FREE here. Our video on paying for care is also available to view here.

If you are concerned about a relative’s care costs and want to find out more, please get in touch with our Older Client legal team for help and advice.

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