Would you accept an increase in Council Tax to pay for social care?

The social care system in the UK is under significant pressure and with more than a million more people aged over 65 today than there were in 2010, it’s easy to see why calls have been made to put more money into the UK’s care system.

Social care funding does not fall to the Government through the NHS, instead it is the responsibility of local authorities to provide care to those who need it and as you may expect, money is tight.

In the UK, those with assets worth £23,250 or more must fully fund the cost of care for themselves or relatives, but £14,250 of assets can be retained. These figures are the same whether care is to be provided through a care home, a nursing home or for someone to come to their home to provide it. Those aged over 65 who live north of the border are entitled to free personal care if assessed as needing help.

In all scenarios, the local council will make an assessment as to how much, and if, support can be provided financially. Only those with the highest needs and the least money tend to be eligible for council funded care, so in many cases a contribution may still be required.

Care costs vary between postcodes, but often amount to tens of thousands of pounds when full time residential or nursing care is required. Many families are ill-prepared for such scenarios and if they can foresee care being required, are well advised to plan ahead and try to prevent further distress at what is usually a difficult time.

One option put forward for consideration by the Government is to allow councils to increase rates beyond the 2% limit currently set. Another is to encourage people to save for social care in the same way as they would for pensions, with preferential rates via a new ‘Care ISA’.

Whatever the outcome, more funding is required to support the growing number of families who will be affected. People are living longer and with continual advances in medical science, many continue to survive with medical conditions that not too long ago may have proven terminal.

Legitimate long term care options are available and if you or a loved one has financial concerns over this subject, it’s important to discuss the situation sooner rather than later. If funding for long term care is required, it can have a dramatic knock-on effect and impact upon other areas, potentially having a dramatic effect on expected inheritances. 

Only advisers that hold the Chartered Insurance Institute CF8 qualification or the IFS Long Term Care qualification are able to provide advice on funding for care home fees. At Armstrong Watson Financial Planning, we have a number of appropriately qualified Financial Planning Consultants who can be contacted at any of our office locations on 0808 144 5575 or via email help@armstrongwatson.co.uk.

 

For further advice on funding for care home fees contact our qualified Financial Planning Consultants

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