Help stop the elderly care funding crisis and sign Make Dilnot Happen by 2015 petition

Make Dilnot Happen by 2015

By Marijke Cox, Reporter Friday, January 11, 2013
1:22 PM

Kent County Council leader Paul Carter is calling for the care cost cap to be implemented by 2015

 

Pauline Turner and her mother AnniePauline Turner and her mother Annie

OUTspoken County Hall leader Paul Carter has demanded the Government cut foreign aid and EU budgets, and divert funds to elderly people to stop them having to sell their homes to pay for care.

The senior Tory criticised the “lack of commitment” shown by the Coalition, which has dithered over introducing recommendations outlined by the Dilnot commission to reform adult social care funding.

Under the current system, elderly people, including those suffering debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, are forced to sell their homes and use savings to pay for care costs.

As a result, many who have worked every day of their lives and never relied on state benefits are left with nothing.

Cllr Carter said the current funding system was “not up to the job” and demanded Prime Minister David Cameron and his deputy Nick Clegg resolve the crisis.

He has launched a Government e-petition with the leaders of Hampshire and Buckinghamshire county councils calling on Whitehall to introduce recommendations outlined by the Dilnot commission.

The two key proposals are:

n A funding cap at £35,000, after which the Government would pay for care. This means an individual would pay for their own care – possibly funded by an insurance policy taken out when they are still working – and once they have contributed £35,000 would be eligible for full state support.

n An increase in the means-tested support threshold from £23,250 to £100,000. Currently, anyone with assets over £23,250 has to bear the costs of their own care.

Last year, more than 24,500 people nationwide had to sell their homes to pay care bills.

Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg pledged support to the Dilnot report in the mid-term review on Monday but have come under fire for the lack of detail in how they propose to take the reforms forward.

Recommendations were outlined by the Dilnot commission 18 months ago, but there has been little movement since.

Speaking to KoS, Cllr Carter said: “Even after their joint announcement on Monday, there seems to be no commitment.

“This has to be a priority – these reforms must be introduced by 2015.

“I’m standing up for people who have worked hard their whole lives, who have never had to fall back on state benefits, but who, when reaching old age or suffering illness, have to sell their homes and spend their hard-earned money on care.”

Social care experts warn that the problem goes even deeper, with ‘cash-poor’ elderly people stripped of pension benefits and other credits when they sell their homes due to their bank balance suddenly increasing.

But with this money spent on their care, experts say some are left with barely anything in their pocket each week.

Cllr Carter said the Government needed to prioritise implementing the Dilnot reforms, which would cost £1.7bn.

“The figure is affordable if the Government puts a cap on contributions to the EU community budget and foreign aid,” he said. “Savings made from not increasing these contributions will more than pay for making sure we have fair, sensible funding for elderly care.

“I think the delay is because they’re trying to reduce budget expenditure, but these recommendations should be a priority. The Government should be looking after its own.

“We’re urging KoS readers to sign the petition and get this debated in Parliament. We need to make sure the Government knows how urgent the need for this solution has become.”

Go to http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43330 to sign.

Pauline Turner’s story:

Pauline Turner’s mother, Annie, suffered from Alzheimer’s. She went into a care home after the illness reached the point where she needed round-the-clock support.

The placement cost almost £20,000 a year and as a self-funder she had to put her house on the market to pay costs.

With debt mounting, the family accepted a much lower price for the house.

Annie’s pension and attendance allowance were also used towards care home fees, which had amounted to more than £100,000 by the time she passed away.

Her daughter, Pauline, 68, who

lives in Cliftonville, said that when

the house was sold, her mother’s pension credits and fuel allowance were cut as it looked as though she had more money.

“My parents worked from the age of 14 and never claimed benefits. My dad worked in the day and my mum worked in a cinema at night,” she said. “My mother would have been so upset if she knew all her money was being used to pay for care and she wouldn’t be able to help her children or grandchildren.”

Mrs Turner said ‘cash- poor’ elderly people who had to sell their homes to pay for care were left with virtually nothing.

“I support the Dilnot

recommendations, although I think even with the £35,000 cap people will still have to sell their homes. I think the cap should be lower.”

http://www.kentnews.co.uk

 

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