Lottery over billing spouses for care

A postcode lottery has emerged on billing spouses for the
residential care of their partner.

Research by King’s College London shows that one in three councils
have a policy to pursue spouses for payments and contributions,
while the rest do not.

It finds that a few local authorities in each region were prepared
to pursue spouses, and that there were variations in the charges.
Capital limits where charges become payable ranged from £3,000
to £50,000.

“Some authorities asked liable spouses for a modest contribution;
others, however, expected savings to be substantially diminished,”
the report says.

Researchers traced the anomaly to the National Assistance Act 1948
under which spouses who are unable to sustain their husband or wife
at home can be held financially liable for part or all of the care
costs. They called for this to be changed.

“Journal of Social Policy and Administration”, December 2002.

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