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Families Face Care Funding Postcode Lottery

CaringPeople and their families continue to face a social care postcode lottery with people in some areas four times more likely to be fully-funded, a new report ‘Cracking the Care Code’ from independent equity release adviser Key shows.

Just One in Three Care Recipients are Fully-Funded

Currently, over-65s make 1.31 million requests for care and support annually but must go through a needs and means assessment to determine the level of support and funding they will receive. A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to 205 local authorities found that currently councils provide support for 568,867 over-65s. Of these, 175,256 (31%) are fully-funded and 300,287 (53%) are partially funded while 19 councils were unable to provide information on the level of funding for 93,324 people (16%).

But the average for England, Scotland and Wales conceals a wide range of regional differences with local authorities in the East of England the most likely to provide full funding. On average 68% of applicants were fully-funded – four times as many as in Wales and the East Midlands where 16% and 17% respectively are fully-funded.

Only 6,882 DPAs in Use:

Key’s FOI established that 6,882 retired homeowners are currently using Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs) to pay for care – under DPAs homeowners use the value of their home to fund residential care and repay the local authority when their house is sold, or they die.

DPAs are most likely to be used in the West Midlands and East of England where each local authority has on average 72 and 71 in place respectively while London (11) and Scotland (16) have the lowest on average.

Research for Key’s report found just 21% of over-55s say they have made any provision for care. Around 44% say they would use savings and investments to fund some or all their care while 40% believe their pension income will be enough. Around 19% say they would need to use property wealth which might be a more viable option as over-65s currently own unmortgaged property worth £1.1 trillion.

Will Hale CEO at Key said: “With 1.31 million requests for care and support each year – a figure that is only going to climb – as a country, we face some tough choices around what we can afford to offer.  Local authorities and Government are under pressure and while the upcoming Green Paper should provide some clarification, the likelihood is that many will need to find some if not all the money needed to pay for care.

“While few people want to consider the prospect of needing care and how they might meet this cost, it is vital that they do. Starting to think about care funding early, speaking to their families, considering all the funding options available and getting good advice is essential.  This will help people to crack the care code and ensure that they make considered sustainable choices about what is a very emotive topic.”

A Government Green Paper setting out proposals on social care for older people to “ensure that the care and support system is sustainable in the long term” is due to be published. It was first announced in the March 2017 Budget.

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