abdcare blog

House of Lords questions Government assertion that people will not have to sell their homes to pay for residential care

15.10.2013

The government published it’s consultation paper in response to the Dilnott commission proposals in July 2013 and the consultation process is due to end on the 25th October.

A proposal from the paper was headlined with the banner ‘people will not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for residential care’. At the time we were sceptical about this claim, and others, and suggested that it was nothing more than ‘smoke & mirrors’.  This statement was not intended to be a criticism of government, rather a reality check and recognition that it is difficult, if not impossible, to find a satisfactory solution to providing effective care for our ageing demographic.

So why are we so sceptical about the proposed plan to allow a deferred payment scheme in respect of people’s homes? Firstly because safeguards already exist. A person’s home is currently not allowed to be taken into account during the first twelve weeks of long term care.  Additionally if your spouse, civil partner or a dependent relative lives in the property it cannot similarly be taken into account.  Further, under the existing Charging for Residential Accommodation Guide 2012 at paragraph 7.24 there already exists a deferred payment option which is exercisable by a local authority at their discretion.

So what is different about this newly proposed deferred payment system? Not much, other than the fact that if you qualify (a decision to be made under the present proposals by a local authority) they must agree to defer.

In today’s news the House of Lords say that the proposal is not what we were led to believe. The reason for this is that you have to run down your capital to £23,250 or less before this scheme will operate.  Two points in response, firstly this qualification requirement was always contained at paragraph 150 of the consultation paper and secondly this same qualification already operates now.  That said full marks to the House of Lords for making this fact and this issue headline news.

So is the new proposal all ‘smoke and Mirrors’? It seems to be, but given the demographic time bomb we are facing the government has the unenviable task of balancing significantly increased future care requirements with a tightening of budgets. In this situation, as an individual, the important thing is to plan carefully for your future and ask for professional guidance.

For a free appointment and to find out answers to your questions about planning for your future care needs please email Andrew Douglas on ajd@awdrys.co.uk or call our professional team on 0800 072 8636. We have offices In Marlborough, Royal Wootton Basset, Calne, Devizes & Chippenham.

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