The decision is in response to concerns raised by the Local Government Association (LGA) about the viability of the additional burden that the new rules would impose on already thinly stretched local authority resources. The LGA had highlighted that the funding gap in adult social care was growing by at least £700 million a year. The proposed cap on care costs and other measures due to be introduced from April 2016 would add an estimated additional £6 billion to public sector spending over the next 5 years, which is simply not affordable. It would lead to local authorities being unable to provide care and support to those that are most vulnerable and in need, instead being forced to provide services for those that could afford to meet their own care costs.
This is a bitter pill for many that have contributed to the state system all their lives yet find themselves faced with uncapped care costs in later life.
So what does the delay mean for those needing care?
Broadly speaking, under current rules anyone with £23,250 or more in assets is responsible for funding their own care. The rules are complicated, certain assets may be disregarded in some circumstances and income is also taken into account.
The delay in the introduction of the care cap does mean that those requiring care may face large capital costs over a number of years and the need to obtain appropriate, specialist advice is ever more vital to explore all the options including:
- Whether NHS Continuing Healthcare may be appropriate (i.e. fully funded NHS care)
- An assessment of all assets and which of those would be included in the means test
- Appropriate investment management
- Assessment as to whether an immediate needs annuity may be appropriate
- Review whether all appropriate benefits are being claimed
As a SOLLA accredited Solla adviser, Sarah Travers has the specialist expertise to assist with all of the above and to provide support and guidance throughout the period of care. Please do get in touch if you would like to discuss your or a loved one’s situation.