Social Care Cap could expose poorer homeowners to life-changing costs.

The Social Care Cap rule changes have been criticised for exposing poorer homeowners to extra costs, as financial help will not count towards the social care cap.

Shadow Minister Liz Kendall called the move a ‘con’ and a ‘total disgrace’, as a tweak to the social care cap plan has been published, which critics say could see poorer homeowners utilising more of their assets than better-off people.

The government announced its eagerly awaited plan for social care earlier this year, with one of the main proposals being this new cap. The Prime Minister said of this initiative:

‘The state should target its help at protecting people against the catastrophic fear of losing everything to pay for the cost of their care, and that is what this government will do.’

The Social Care Cap was then introduced in September, stating that from 2023 no one in England would pay more than £86,000 for care. This includes care costs such as washing, dressing, and eating. However, it was revealed that care costs in a care home – for example, energy bills, food, or accommodation – would not count towards the cap.

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The new plan also specified that those with assets less than £100,000 would be able to get financial help for their care costs, however this would not go towards the cap. This could put somebody in the position of owning assets less than £100,000 paying a larger proportion than somebody with more assets who would hit the cap sooner.

The lack of means-tested funding going towards the gap also puts people at risk of needing to sell their assets to provide for the care costs.

Due to the criticism of the technical change, which could see poorer people lose out as well as with a lack of protection to losing their assets, Boris Johnson was warned that MPs in the so-called red wall could revolt when the changes are put to a vote.

Charles Tallack, Assistant Director of the REAL Centre at the Health Foundation, said: ‘While we support the government’s ambitions to reform social care and protect people from catastrophic care costs, these last-minute changes seem poorly conceived and are a step in the wrong direction.

‘The reforms were driven by a promise to protect people from catastrophic costs. It appears that for the poorest people this now won’t be the case.’


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