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Proposed Social Care Cap: Comparison with existing system

24 May 2017

This is a brief comparison between the current social care charging system and what we know about Conservative party proposals for social care capping, in England, as outlined in their 2017 manifesto.

This is intended for information only and is not intended as a Disability Rights UK opinion on the merits or otherwise of such a proposal.

The social care systems for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are decided by the devolved administrations.

Current care costs system

In England, the care costs system is different, depending whether you are receiving care in your own home or in a residential care home.

Capital limits for care

If you have capital/ savings over £23,250 you are expected to self-fund your care.

If you have savings below this limit you are expected to use some of your capital to fund your care. This is worked out on a sliding scale, known as tariff income. For more information see our Care Act Guide

You may also be expected to pay over some of your income towards your care costs.

Paying for care in your own home - income

Councils can charge for care provided in the home but must leave you a basic level of income, known as the ‘minimum income guarantee’

For example:

  • a single person age 25 or over might be left with £91.40 a week to live on.
  • a single person, over pension credit age might be left with £189.00 a week to live on.

You can view a full list in section 10 of our Care Act Guide

When considering your income, a council can take into account your:

  • disability living allowance (DLA) care component
  • personal independence payment (PIP) daily living component
  • attendance allowance
  • constant attendance allowance
  • exceptionally severe disablement allowance.

DLA or PIP mobility component, the war pensioner’s mobility supplement and armed forces independence payment are disregarded.

If you are working your earnings are also disregarded.

Councils may also disregard any 'Disability Related Expenditure', such as the costs of extra heat, specialist clothing, or diet.

Paying for care in a residential care home - income

Most of your income is taken into account when you opt to live permanently in a care home.

DLA or PIP mobility component, the war pensioner’s mobility supplement and armed forces independence payment are disregarded.

If you are working your earnings are also disregarded.

Changes currently scheduled for 2020

These proposals were delayed from 2016 and there has been some speculation as to whether these would actually be implemented. The Conservative Manifesto 2017 would seem to confirm that they will not.

The proposals are:

  • Lifetime cap on care costs, for both home and residential care, set at £72,000 a year
  • If you are in residential care, an additional daily living (‘hotel costs’) for bed and board capped at £12,000 per year
  • The current £23,250 capital limit raised to £118,000 if you have a home or £27,000 if you receive care in the home, or your home is disregarded
  • The income rules would stay the same

Conservative manifesto proposals

The proposed reforms are:

  • Means-testing for home care and for residential care to be the calculated in the same way
  • Capital limit of £100,000, including the cost of - no matter how large the cost of care turns out to be
  • An “absolute limit” on the amount that people pay for social care will be discussed in a future green paper
  • Payments for all care can be deferred so no one will have to sell their home in their lifetime

Possible questions

  • No details of how income is to be treated under a new means test system
  • Does the term ‘care costs’ include daily living (hotel costs) or are these an additional charge?
  • The “absolute limit” on care costs is a very late addition and may not have been fully thought through

References

Forward together - the Conservative Party Manifesto

Forward together - the Conservative Party Manifesto