Later Life  

Homeowners relucant to sell up to pay for care

Homeowners relucant to sell up to pay for care

Most people feel property should not be included in social care entitlement assessments, according to figures released today (19 July)

An Aegon survey of 1,027 British adults showed 57 per cent wanted to exclude their property from assets used to pay for care costs and 64 per cent were in favour of a cap on contributions towards social care.

The report comes as the wait for the government’s Green Paper on social care, proposed in the March 2017 Budget and pledged in the Conservative Party’s 2017 election manifesto, continues.

Of those surveyed, 68 per cent supported a system where the government and individuals shared the cost of social care, with 24 per cent wanting the state to fund social care for all through income tax and 8 per cent favouring individuals to pay for their own care until assets are depleted.

Support for shared costs between state and the individual proved consistent across age groups with 74 per cent of 18-30 year olds and 68 per cent of 51-64 year olds in favour of the option.

Pensions were found to be the most popular choice of funding should an individual find themselves in need of care, with a consensus of 32 per cent.

Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said despite a widespread agreement on the need for a social care deal between individuals and state, the detail on how much individuals should pay was fraught with political difficulties.

He said: "Funding social care raises many questions of fairness across the generations, so the fact that there’s support for sharing costs across age groups will be welcomed by government.

"Our research indicates strong support for a cap on the amount people will be expected to pay. This will allow people to plan ahead while also protecting inheritance aspirations."

During the 2017 general election the Conservative Party made a controversial proposal to increase the threshold for free social care from £23,250 to £100,000, with the value of property included in the calculation meaning people faced selling their homes after they died to pay for care.

The proposals were quickly dubbed the "dementia tax" and were scrapped after prime minister Theresa May was forced to say the Conservative government would set an “absolute limit” on the amount people pay for social care.

Mr Cameron said the more controversial question was how low a "floor" an individual’s assets would need to fall to before the state picks up the full costs of care, in light of heavy criticism of the government’s pre-election "dementia tax" proposals.

He said: "Crucially, will the value of an individual’s home be counted when assessing eligibility for government support?

"Our surveys repeatedly show people are very reluctant to sell their homes to pay for care. But given so much of many people’s wealth is tied up in property, it’s hard to overlook it."

Mr Cameron said pensions were well-suited to the task of paying for care and suggested the government should think about offering incentives to ring-fence part of pensions for later life to pay for care should the need arise.