The Joseph Rowntree Foundation today urged the government to consider a £775m package of immediate reforms to make the adult care funding system fairer prior to any long-term changes introduced by the forthcoming green paper.
In a report today, the research body said it could be a decade before the reforms to the funding system in England, due to be ushered in by this year’s green paper, come into force.
However, it said there were immediate changes that could be made that could alleviate pressures on service users, particularly older people, including:-
- Increasing the number of people eligible for council-funded care home placements by almost doubling the upper means-test threshold for savings from £22,250 to £42,500. This would cost £280m a year.
- Doubling the personal expenses allowance for publicly-funded care home residents, currently worth £21.90 a week. This is designed to cover items such as clothes and shoes. The reform would cost £250m a year.
- Introducing free personal care for all social care users requiring nursing care. This would cost £212m a year.
- Making a £33m investment in equity release schemes, allowing older homeowners to pay for home-based care by deferring the costs until their home is sold.
The JRF’s lead on long-term care and the report’s author, Sue Collins, said: “These reforms could quickly make a difference to older people and their carers struggling to cope under the present system.”