The planned introduction under the Care Act to cap fees of £72,000 on the amount people have to pay towards their care in old age is now delayed until April 2020. This care home fee betrayal will come as a blow to thousands of elderly and is a move that has been savaged by critics.
Care Home Fee Betrayal
Government ministers have disclosed that their decision to defer the reform will affect tens of thousands of elderly people. Many are already in the care system. In a Parliamentary written answer it was revealed that the delay to implementation will see no fewer than 23,000 pensioners lose out immediately. An impact assessment has also revealed that over the next 10 years an additional 80,000 people – who would have received state support had the cap been brought in as promised – will lose out. This appears to be a care home fee betrayal.
The cap was designed to ensure that fewer pensioners would have to face catastrophic care costs, with the state stepping in after they reached the £72,000 level.
The reforms would also have altered the threshold at which people have to start funding their care in full – meaning people would only start paying the whole cost if they had more than £118,000 in assets, decreasing on a sliding scale down to £23,250. However, this has also been delayed.
At present, people have to pay their full care costs if they have more than £23,250. The value of the home and other assets can be taken into consideration.
Although Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt insists the cap will be introduced a month before the 2020 election, many critics are sceptical that it will ever be brought in.
Dr Victoria Handley, Director of Handley Law stated that ‘These figures are scandalous. The real fear is that there will be an abandonment of the policy and so many who are already vulnerable will lose out.’
Two other key reforms aside from the care home fee betrayal have also been postponed until April 2020:
- A duty on councils to meet the eligible needs of self-funders in care homes at their request and;
- A more generous means test for residential care that the government estimated would have benefited an extra 23,000 people in 2016-17 alone.
What will be the Impact of the care home fee betrayal be?
Without more funds to support services for the elderly and vulnerable many care homes could close. This is the sad reality of the care home free betrayal. Many homes are likely to pull out of the sector without more state help. Councils are seeking a cheaper option to house the elderly and yet this only leads to care home abuse and neglect.
Homes are being squeezed by rising costs and low fees paid by councils for those receiving public help. A major concern is paying the new living wage of £7.20 an hour next year which applies to the workforce.
Indeed some companies supplying meals and personal care are likely to withdraw from contracts.
If you have a loved one in a care home and are worried about neglect or abuse, then contact Dr Victoria Handley on 0845 676 9228 or firstname.lastname@example.org