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Monday 01st of December 2008
October 12, 2007

Assistance with care-home bills hint ministers


by Kay Murchie
”Assistance

Ministers have suggested that elderly people may escape the worry of having to sell their property when they go into care.

A recent campaign by the Daily Mail highlighted public frustration over the way elderly people have their homes taken away from them to pay several hundred pounds a week for their care. Families who expected to inherit that property discover that their value is drained away to pay for the cost of care.

Ministers have promised an investigation into ways of scrapping this system and Ivan Lewis, Health Minister, said there should be an agreement for a new funding settlement between the state, the family and the individual.

A Green Paper to be published in 2008 is expected to seek ways of directing public money into helping families. Papers issued with Chancellor Alistair Darling’s spending review earlier this week hinted that there might be a set state payment that would go to everyone who requires a place in a care home.

A report was published on care of the elderly this year by Niall Dickson of the King’s Fund health think-tank, it said that the Government has indicated major reform of social care and the current means-tested system, which for years has caused sorrow and grief to older people and their relatives.

The Government has suggested that it favours a universal entitlement together with co-payment and progressive elements. A universal payment would mean everyone would get a contribution towards their bills, and then there would be a sliding scale which would leave the best-off paying most of their own costs.

The universal payment would be like that of the personal care payment given to all care home residents in Scotland, which is worth between £145 and £210 a week, depending on how much help they need.

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