The Dilnot Commission has proposed radical reform of the present system for funding long-term care. We’re joined by Andrew Dilnot who explains why the government must act on the Commission’s recommendations.
People of all ages are living longer. That is something we should be celebrating. However, as people’s care and support needs grow, they face fear and uncertainty about the financial consequences.
Over the last year, we have been talking to people about their experiences and collecting evidence about the current state of the social care funding system. The resounding message back was that the system is broken. It’s confusing, unfair and unsustainable and needs to be fixed.
Care funding as it is now
Care is the one area of our lives where we cannot protect ourselves against the risk of high costs. While a quarter of 65-year-olds can expect not to need care, one in ten will have very high care needs costing in excess of £100,000.
At present, the state only covers the cost for those who have used up all but £23,250 of their assets, which can include their house. And private insurers won’t cover people because of uncertainty over the final bill.
We need a new system in which people aren’t fearful and are able to plan and prepare for meeting the cost of care.
Our plans for reform
We think people should be expected to contribute towards their care as happens now, but that their contribution should be capped to a maximum of £35,000 over their lifetime. The state would then step in and pay for care. Those with little money would continue to get state support, but the threshold below which people are entitled to that support should be increased from £23,250 to £100,000.
Under the current system, at the extreme, people face losing over 90% of their assets. If these recommendations were implemented, no-one going into residential care would have to lose more than 30%.
Under our proposals more working age adults would not have to pay any charges and younger people would not be subject to a means test. We recommend a shift to a new national eligibility threshold, to tackle the extremes of the ‘postcode lottery’, and better assessment processes for both those needing care and their carers.
We want to see significant improvement in the provision of information and advice, and more joined up working across the whole care and support system – health, housing, benefits and adult social care.
Change is crucial
This is a set of proposals that will concentrate help on those with the greatest needs, give peace of mind to all and create a new partnership between public and private sector.
Individuals with care needs, carers (both paid and unpaid), the financial services sector and the public and voluntary sectors, will all have a part to play. Together we can help people achieve the outcomes they want, offering choice and delivering services shaped around individuals and their families.
Last year, the government established this Commission to recommend what that new system should be. It is now up to the government to take forward those reforms.
What do you think of the Dilnot Commission’s proposals of reform for the social care funding system? And how do you think the funding of long-term care should change?