This House of Commons Library briefing paper considers the Conservative Party’s commitments to reform the social care means-test, including the new £100,000 means-test limit.Jump to full report >>
The reforms have yet to be implemented; the Government has said that it will publish a Green Paper on the reform of social care funding, although no date has been given for its publication.
Unlike health care which is free at the point of use, adult social care – such as care home places or help at home (domiciliary care) is means-tested. Only those recipients of social care who have capital of less than £23,250 (which may include the value of their home for those in a care home) are currently eligible for funding support from their local authority; those that do qualify are expected to contribute their income towards the cost.
During the General Election campaign, the Conservative Party proposed a more generous £100,000 capital means-test limit and an unspecified “absolute limit” (or cap) on how much an individual would have to pay during their lifetime on social care. To help pay for this policy, the value of the home would be included in the means-test for those recipients of social care living at home, as is already the case for care home residents. However, it was proposed that they will be able to enter into a loan arrangement with their local authority, meaning they wouldn’t have to sell their home during their lifetime.
This paper sets out the proposals, comparing them to the current position and exploring their possible implications.
More information about the Government’s social care funding proposals in the broader context of funding reform can be found in section 6 of the Library briefing paper, Social care: Government reviews and policy proposals for paying for care since 1997 (England).
In addition, the current means-test for social care is set out in Social care: paying for care home places and domiciliary care (England), while the Government’s funding for social care is explained in Adult Social Care Funding (England).
This note applies to England only.