Hampshire Council: ‘Raise threshold to fund more people in care’

People with moderate wealth must no longer be barred from publicly funded social care, an inquiry by Hampshire Council said this week.

Hampshire’s year-long commission of inquiry into the future of adult care called for the upper asset threshold for residential care in England to rise from £22,250 to £50,000. It also said this funding arrangement should apply to home care as well and that the existing system of locally-based means-testing for domiciliary care should be scrapped. The commission said this would cost £400m to £600m if implemented nationally.

Penalised for saving

The commission’s report said it had heard evidence from people who believed the current threshold left them “isolated and unsupported” and penalised them for having saved for older age. It said a £50,000 limit would be a “reasonable rebalancing” of the responsibilities of the individual and the state.

Charging should be replaced by a system of individual contributions, it said. Under this system all service users would receive an assessment and an individual budget allocation, before receiving a means-test to determine how much they should receive from the state. It said this approach was more in line with the personalisation agenda and would reduce the costs of collecting charges.

Free care

All service users, regardless of means, who are at risk of hospital admission or are being discharged from hospital should receive eight weeks of free social care, it said.

The commission was set up in January and included Hampshire councillors and national social care leaders, including Association of Director of Adult Social Services president John Dixon and Counsel and Care chief executive Stephen Burke. It was supported by a user and carer group.

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