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A response to the Dilnot Report on Social Care Funding

Many people have contacted our Private Client Law team in relation to the government’s announcement on July 11 about changes to the funding of care for the elderly made in an official report by the economist Andrew Dilnot. Dawn Joughin, our head of Private Client Law has written this article which provides answers to some of those questions.

Dawn has also put together a more detailed guide to the legal implications of affording care in later life (see bottom of the page).

The announcement made by Andrew Lansley regarding the Government’s proposals to deal with growing concerns in respect of funding care for the elderly was extremely disappointing. The only proposal from the Dilnot Report to be implemented is that of a deferred funding arrangement. This is an arrangement that in reality already exists and is operated by most local authorities across the country. It does nothing to tackle the current problem, a problem set to increase as a result of our ageing population.

Andrew Dilnot reported the findings of the Commission on Funding of Care and Support twelve months ago, in July 2011. The Commission, an independent body, was tasked by Government, to review the funding system for care and support in England, and to make recommendations on how to reform the system.

Dilnot proposed reforms including an increase in the current capital threshold from £23,250 to £100,000, in addition to a proposed cap of £35,000 on payments. This would mean if a person has capital of between £23,250 and £100,000 they will qualify for public funding and will not have to provide up to £35,000 towards their care fees. Currently any person with more than £23,250 of capital is responsible for funding their own care. The proposal meant those with capital above £100,000 would benefit from the fact that their maximum contribution would be limited to £35,000. Currently elderly people who require residential and nursing care over a period of many years can exhaust capital reaching hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Another proposal in the Dilnot Report was that those in care would pay an annual payment of between £7,000 to £10,000 as a contribution towards basic living costs and the suggestion was that this should be a fixed amount across the country. The theory behind this was that if the person in care were living at home they would have these costs to pay in any event.

Sadly, the Government has deferred implementing any of these additional proposals until after the next election, as a result of current budget constraints. Whether this issue will ever be tackled head on remains to be seen. In the meantime, there is ever increasing concern amongst those reaching, or already in retirement about funding their future care.

More Information on the Dilnot Report

BBC News Article - Social care plans 'simply paper over cracks'

The Dilnot Commission - Fairer Funding for All

Care Home Funding Guide

By Dawn Joughin