Younger disabled people would be spared from making any financial contribution to their care, under proposals unveiled today by the Dilnot commission.
Its report on reforming care funding said that those who develop a care need before turning 40 should not have to contribute to the cost of their care.
“We do not think that people younger than 40 can, in general, realistically be expected to have planned for having a care and support need, nor will they have accumulated significant assets,” its report read.
The move follows concerns over current charges levied on disabled adults for domiciliary care and fears that they could be penalised as a result of the emphasis of the care funding debate on older people.
Richard Hawkes, chief executive of disability charity Scope, said the proposals would help protect disabled people with modest savings.
“If [disabled people] build up savings, income or a home worth more than £23,250, they risk dropping off of the means-testing ‘cliff edge’ and having to spend every penny they have saved on staggering care costs,” he said. “This puts them back to square one, and leaves them without the financial resilience for unexpected shocks.”
Guy Parckar, public policy manager at Leonard Cheshire Disability, said any concerns that reform might penalise younger disabled adults had been addressed.
“Whenever we have consulted people on this they have said they want something free at the point of delivery, like the NHS,” he said. “This doesn’t quite go that far but we never expected it to.”
He warned that the protection afforded people under the commission’s recommendations could be put at risk if the government decided to pick and choose bits of the report to implement.
David Congdon, head of campaigns and policy at Mencap, added that the issue of funding care for older people needed to be solved to stop older and younger disabled people’s services competing for dwindling resources.
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