Hundreds of pensioners and disabled people will descend on Westminster today

Only the elderly with £100,000 in assets ‘should pay for care home fees’ argue campaigners ahead of mass rally

By Daniel Martin


No family should be forced to dip into their savings to pay for care in old age if their assets fall below £100,000, campaigners will argue today in a mass rally at Parliament.

At present, anyone with assets of more than £23,250 has to pay for residential care costs – forcing thousands to sell their homes.

Now Age UK is calling for this means-test level to be raised to £100,000, allowing thrifty pensioners to safeguard their homes and pass on more to their children.

Helping the aged: Thrifty pensioners would be able to safeguard their homes and pass on more to their children if the means-test level was raised.

Hundreds of pensioners and disabled people will descend on Westminster today to highlight the ‘crisis’ of the social care system.


The rally is being organised by the Care and Support Alliance, which represents more than 60 charities and organisations. They want to see ministers plough billions more pounds into social care. Chairman Simon Gillespie said: ‘Social care is not a “nice to have” extra. Without support, many people are condemned to a mere existence.

‘People are living longer with illness and disability and the chronically underfunded system is in crisis. Yet social care budgets across England fell by an estimated £1billion last year.

‘This is the opportunity of a generation for government to improve the lives of millions of people, and help ease the strain on the already financially stretched NHS.’

Harsh treatment for the elderly

‘The current care system is teetering on rotting foundations and if the Government fails to show the vision needed on the funding of care, hundreds of thousands of people and their families across the nation will stand in judgment.’

Age UK is raising the specific issue of the means test for residential care fees, which means people have to continue dipping into their savings until they get as low as £23,250. The charity wants the limit to be raised to £100,000, in line with the findings of the independent Dilnot Commission last year.

Age UK’s charity director general Michelle Mitchell said: ‘This means test is one of the strongest cliff edges in the benefit system in England, and in extreme cases people can see their lifetime savings swept away.

‘It is important that any future care package addresses these concerns. The £23,250 cap is so sharp and is unfair on many people who have worked hard all their lives, because all their assets – including their home – are taken into account. They can see their savings swept away.’

At least 20,000 pensioners a year have to sell their homes to pay for care.

As well as today’s rally, hundreds of older and disabled people will meet their MPs to tell them exactly how the social care system is failing them. Because many older people are unable to attend in person, there will also be an interactive rally – a ‘Twobby’ or Twitter lobby – enabling people to ask their MP questions.

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