Charities have criticised the lack of focus on younger disabled adults in last week’s adult social care green paper.
Mencap and Leonard Cheshire Disability raised concerns about the government’s emphasis on finding extra resources to fund older people’s care from the state and individuals.
Its only significant public funding commitment is to meet a quarter to one-third of the personal care costs of all eligible adults – which would benefit mainly better-off older people now excluded by means-testing.
This would be funded by transferring funding on attendance allowance into the social care system, with the government having ruled out an increase in general taxation to boost social care resources.
The other major funding proposal – the possible establishment of voluntary or compulsory insurance schemes to help individuals meet care costs – is also targeted at older people.
The green paper said adults of working age with eligible care needs would tend to receive free care, as now, because they generally lived on low incomes and had little wealth.
Many green paper positives
Mencap chief executive Mark Goldring said there were many positives in the green paper. But he pointed out that implementing a national eligibility system without dedicated funding would mean increasing thresholds in some areas to compensate for them being reduced in others. This could result in some disabled adults losing their care.
“If attendance allowance is all they have to redistribute, that can’t cover a quarter of the costs of those who don’t get support at the moment and also pay for an extension of social care for those who are under 65,” he said.
Guy Parckar, Leonard Cheshire Disability’s public policy manager, said many younger disabled adults faced care charges while others were excluded by eligibility criteria but were unable to afford private care.
“More money is needed in the system. It’s something that’s so central that you need to fund it from taxation and national insurance,” he added.
How younger disabled adults could gain
● National assessment and eligibility system should mean equitable access to care between areas.
● Users who move areas should retain access to care without reassessment.
● Disabled adults assumed to continue receiving means-tested support with care costs, as now.