Phil Hope admits concerns over attendance allowance

Phil Hope

Significant concerns have been raised over government plans to transfer money paid out in attendance allowance to the social care system, care services minister Phil Hope admitted yesterday.

Hope said this one of the key themes to have emerged during the consultation on the government’s green paper  on the future funding of adult social care, which started in July and closes next month.

Hope told the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Harrogate that it was evident that disability groups continued to be unhappy about the plans for attendance allowance – a benefit paid to people over 65 with care needs caused by disability.

He told the conference that existing attendance allowance claimants would not lose out, adding: “We aren’t getting rid of attendance allowance. We are taking the budget and reshaping it so everyone gets access to care and support.”

Under the green paper proposals, the money from attendance allowance would help fund state contributions to the personal care costs of all people deemed eligible for care services, overhauling the current means-tested care system.
Hope added: “We believe this will provide better help for people with disabilities.”
Backing for tax-funding
Other themes raised in the consultation include backing for tax-funded increases in adult social care funding – which the government has rejected as unaffordable and an unfair burden on people of working age.
In an exclusive interview with Community Care, Hope said regional consultative events had identified backing for each of the three funding models put forward in the paper: 

1 The partnership model under which people would be left to meet those personal care costs not met by the state.
2 The insurance model under which people would be invited to join an insurance scheme to meet these costs.
3 The comprehensive model, in which all people would have to join a state insurance scheme, paying in at least £17,000.
Payment on death
In the last model, most people have so far indicated that if this were the funding system chosen they would prefer the sum to be taken out of their estate rather than have to pay it when they turned 65, as has been mooted.
Hope said modelling on the insurance scheme suggested that only one in five people will take it up.
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