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Should social care costs be capped?

View profile for Mike Pemberton
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News reports have emerged that Paul Burstow the minister who was in charge of care policy until last year’s cabinet reshuffle is calling on the Government to implement the Dilnot report, which recommends capping social care costs that anyone would pay for care in their lifetime.

He recommends setting the cap at up to £60,000 – significantly higher than the £35,000 figure recommended by Andrew Dilnot last year.

Somewhat controversially, he says it should be paid for by means-testing winter fuel payments for pensioners meaning only those on basic means tested pension credits would receive the fuel allowance in future.

These winter fuel allowance “savings” alone could amount to £2 billion per year and this should be used to help individuals fund their care placements instead of using their own savings or selling their homes.

Mr Burstow said the Dilnot recommendations were “the only viable option when it comes to securing the future of care in this country”.

“Treasury officials have tried and failed to knock them down or come up with an alternative and their silence on the matter is deafening,” he said.

Reform is certainly needed to a system described by many as a timebomb as more people grow older and rely on greater support in their care as they live longer.

However, many people remain unaware of what funding is available already to help people pay for their care via the NHS or Local Authorities.

A deadline for people to claim back care fees which the NHS should have been paying for expired in September 2012.

However, there is a further deadline set at March 31st this year for people to be able claim back up to two years worth of fees if it can be shown that they met the criteria and their care was predominantly nursing care. This makes the care they receive essentially free. However, many who should have claimed have not, or they may have tried and have been assessed wrongly. Two years care can be as much as £60,000.

By Pete Donohue

We have been involved in a number of important cases in this area of law and our specialist community care team can assist you in determining whether there is a claim for continuing care fees. Legal Aid may be available, or we have a competitive tariff of fixed fee options to assist people. To discuss your case call 01616 966 229.