Time for monumental change in social care funding
Monday 04 July 2011
Mencap supports the Dilnot report on social care funding
A cap on costs and an increase in the means-tested threshold are among the major changes to the funding of adult social care in England, recommended in a review, published on 4 July.
‘Fairer Care Funding’ is the final report by the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, chaired by Andrew Dilnot. It was set up by the government last July, to recommend a fair and sustainable funding system for adult social care in England.
The report’s recommendations include a cap on individuals’ lifetime contributions towards their social care costs – which are currently potentially unlimited. After the cap is reached, individuals would be eligible for full state support. This cap should be between £25,000 and £50,000, but the report recommends that £35,000 is the most appropriate and fair figure.
Plus, it proposes an increase in the means-tested threshold, above which people are liable for their full care costs – from £23,250 to £100,000. It says that national eligibility criteria and portable assessments should be introduced to ensure greater consistency.
Dilnot also recommends that all those who enter adulthood with a care and support need should be eligible for free state support immediately, rather than being subjected to a means test.
Andrew Dilnot said: “The issue of funding for adult social care has been ignored for too long.
“The current system is confusing, unfair and unsustainable. People can’t protect themselves against the risk of very high care costs and risk losing all their assets, including their house. This problem will only get worse if left as it is, with the most vulnerable in our society being the ones to suffer.”
Mark Goldring, Mencap’s chief executive, said: “The social care system is broken and in urgent need of fixing. The Dilnot report makes some welcome recommendations that we believe will create a fairer funding system for people who are in dire need of care. It is important to remember that these vital changes are not just for the older people in our society, but for the millions of working age people with a disability who rely on social care to live their everyday lives.
“Now is the time for monumental change and it is vital that the government does not bury social care reform. The government must be brave, listen to these recommendations and act quickly. As a government and as a society we simply cannot afford not to fix this broken system.”
Read a blog post about the report by Mencap's campaigns assistant Ismail Kaji