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Elderly care cap in England to benefit ‘one in eight’

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The £72,000 cap on elderly care costs in England, due to be introduced in 2016, will benefit one in eight people, the government has said.

Care Home Funding Advocates can report that this revelation came as the government set out details about how it will work.

It confirmed there would be a deferred payment scheme under which the local council would pay care fees and claim them back from the estate after death.

Labour said the details would not help elderly and disabled people struggling to get the support they needed now.

Ministers say the cap on costs is a solution to the elderly care crisis, but the level at which the cap is being set is twice what was recommended, meaning the numbers benefiting will be restricted.

The modelling provided by the government as it launched a consultation on the plans showed it was likely to be four years after the implementation of the changes until the first significant groups of those aged 65 and over would start to hit the cap.

And because people tend not to live for very long once they have reached the level of need that takes them over the cap, the actual numbers benefiting will be in the tens of thousands at any one time.

‘Provide reassurances’

Care Minister Norman Lamb said the cap was never going to be the “panacea” for the problems facing the system.

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With a cap set at £72,000 it is clear that only a relatively small percentage of older people will receive financial support as a result”

Michelle MitchellAge UK

But he said while the cover was limited it should help provide reassurance across society.

As well as helping elderly people financially, it had been designed to encourage everyone to plan better for old age and persuade the insurance industry to develop more products to cover care costs.

“No-one wants to face an unknown future,” Mr Lamb said.

“This overhaul of the way care is paid for gives people the certainty and peace of mind we all deserve.”

Michelle Mitchell, of Age UK, said: “It is crucial that the public understands what costs are included under the cap and what impact the proposals will have.

“With a cap set at £72,000, it is clear that only a relatively small percentage of older people will receive financial support as a result – namely those who have the greatest care needs for a considerable amount of time.”

As part of the announcement, the government also unveiled the amount individuals are expected to contribute towards their “hotel costs” in care homes.

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