Cap on elderly care

July 18, 2012, 1:57 PM GMT+0

78% Britons would support cap on elderly care ‒ 36% at £35,000; as Government continues debate

Over three quarters of Britons say they would support a cap on the amount elderly people have to pay towards the cost of long-term end-of-life care, while just one in ten would oppose a cap, our poll has found.

Around a third says the cap should be limited at less than £35,000, but one in twenty would approve a cap of £100,000.

  • 78% would support a cap on the amount people have to pay towards the cost of their care
  • 9% oppose a cap on the amount people have to pay
  • 13% don't know

At the moment, elderly people who need to go into care are means-tested to determine how much they will contribute to the cost of their care, which currently leaves many having to sell their homes to cover the costs.

Cap limits

As a means of addressing this situation, the Government has suggested introducing a cap on the amount that any person should have to contribute towards the cost of their care. The most popular figure, as voted by the public in our poll, would come in at under £35,000.

  • 36% say if there is a cap, it should be set as a figure less than £35,000
  • 13% think the cap should be set at £35,000
  • 15% say the cap should be £50,000
  • 6% say £100,000 is the most appropriate cap
  • 3% think it should be a figure greater than £100,000
  • 27% don't know

Last year, in the Commission on Funding of Care and Support report, economist Andrew Dilnot recommended a £35,000 cap on what anyone would be required to pay for long-term care. The state, it suggested, would then meet any extra costs, and individuals would be encouraged to take out insurance or save to pay up to the level of the cap.

Cross-party talks on the issue broke down last week, as ministers agreed that a cap on long-term elderly or disabled care should exist but disagreed over how to fund it.

Means-testing funds

On a similar note, the majority of Britons say that in order to help fund a cap on charges, they would support means testing on benefits ‒ such as the winter fuel allowance or free television license ‒ while around half would support the extension of national insurance contributions to workers aged over 65.

  • 60% would support the idea of means-testing benefits such as the winter fuel allowance or free television licence, as a way of funding a cap on care charges, while 30% oppose means-testing benefits
  • 52% support extending national insurance contributions to people over the age of 65 who are still working, 32% oppose

"Appropriate funding"

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has announced that the Government supports the principle of capping care costs, but it is "unable to commit" as "appropriate funding cannot as yet be found". He has stated that if recent reform to social care were to include a cap, the figure could be set as high as £100,000.

Notwithstanding, Mr Lansley has insisted that funding the changes will have to be agreed at the next Treasury spending round in 2013.

The 'pay when you die' scheme, otherwise known as the 'death tax', is a controversial alternative plan that would aim to ensure that no-one would be forced to sell their home should they go in to care.

The initiative is a deferred payment method for care homes and is to be introduced in 2015. The scheme will order councils to provide loans to care homes, which will be repaid after the person in care dies, either from the sale or re-mortgaging of their home.

See the survey details and full results here (page 12)