CARE CAP CON TRICK?A guest post by "Broadcaster, Columnist & Blogger David Lowe".
David sent me this and I liked it so much that I asked him if I could post it up and so with thanks to him I do. What do you think?
YOU may already have seen reports in the News about a £75,000 cap on social care for the elderly. That is to say, those of us who are owner-occupiers and/or those of us with substantial savings, and/or an appropriate insurance policy will not be expected to contribute more than £75,000 of the value of our property, savings or policy, should we need social care in our later years.
In February of this year, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced in Parliament that his proposal for such a cap would be of help to a significant number of people in England. He added that, up to now, many families have faced ruinous costs with little or no assistance from the State, so the proposed new framework would "bring greater certainty, fairness and peace of mind."
Okay, so how many of us assumed that this £75,000 cap covered care … i.e. nursing and all other related costs … in their entirety? I certainly did, and if you did too, we were wrong: big time! Only now, is it becoming clearer that the cap covers basic nursing costs and nothing more. It does not cover the costs to the individual of retirement or nursing home fees or even the food served at such establishments.
As if that isn't enough to be getting-on with, there's a big sting in the tail too. If you are assessed at having "low" or "moderate" care needs, the care costs you incur will NOT count towards the £75.000 cap. Only if your needs are assessed as "substantial" or "critical" will the cap come into play. And, as if to add insult to injury, there's yet another aspect to this sorry state of affairs that the politicians seem to think is of little or no consequence. The relevant legislation is not likely to come into force until 2017, and if … note the word "if" … the legislation is approved, those who qualify for assistance, over and above the £75,000 cap, are unlikely to start receiving support before 2019 at the earliest.
For quite a few years now, local government authorities have been stressing that the care of the elderly is grossly under-funded. So why has the issue been allowed to deteriorate to such an extent? Some campaigners point to 1997 when Tony Blair came to power, and claim they've been pressing for - and promised - action ever since. Promises, promises!
Clearly, this is yet another major UK issue involving the retired and elderly that could be resolved overnight by the suspension or scrapping of the largely discredited Overseas Aid we dole-out to all-and-sundry every year. I'm not usually given to quoting chapter and verse but, as a former Sunday school teacher, I'm reminded of a passage from the New Testament … "Why do you seek the speck in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?" (RSV Matthew 7 verses 3 to 5 inclusive). In other words, let's put our own house in order FIRST, before we try to resolve the perceived, and sometimes wholly imaginary, problems of other nation states.
By the way, I make no apology for using the words "Con Trick" in the title of this article.