Means test threatens care for the elderly

HUNDREDS of thousands of elderly people face the prospect of being unable to pay for the care they may need in old age, because of a means-tested poverty trap operated by local councils, experts are forecasting.

Many health professionals believe those with some savings or a small pension are most likely to face difficulties.

For many, the changes could force them to accept cheaper but far less comfortable - even unsafe - care.

The Community Care Act imposes a duty on councils to provide care for the elderly, of which 75 per cent must be bought from the private sector.

The typical cost of a nursing home is pounds 500 a week in London and the South-east, and pounds 375 elsewhere in the UK. A residential home costs between pounds 300 and pounds 375 a week. And the cost of care is rising at more than twice the rate of inflation.

Councils are allowed to apply their own guidelines on the level of help given to those in need. Although the amount paid for nursing care varies, it rarely exceeds pounds 250 a week.

In any case, only those with savings of less than pounds 3,000 receive the full amount a local authority may give. Those with savings above pounds 8,000 will normally get no help from a council at all.

Means-testing may also include the value of a person's home, unless a partner or dependent relative lives there.

Joe Hennessey, director of services for the Muscular Dystrophy Group of Great Britain, said: 'The number of people who, for reason of age or disability, need care and varying degrees of support, will continue to grow. Are the funds going to grow with that need? Not on your nelly] People will increasingly be thrown back on their own resources.'

Jeremy Oakley is marketing director of PPP Lifetime, a health-care company offering long-term disability and protection cover. Over the past two years, the company has been selling policies that allow clients to claim for permanent nursing or other care should they become incapacitated.

He said: 'The importance of similar cover is likely to grow for large numbers of people. Estimates now suggest that the number of pensioners will grow by 50 per cent in the first 30 years of the next century, from about 9 million to more than 14 million. They are also likely to live longer.'

For a monthly premium of pounds 26, a male aged 45 would receive a pounds 200 weekly lifetime benefit should he become incapacitated. Women, who live longer, pay pounds 28 a month. A lump-sum option is also available, whereby a single payment buys the same cover.

Mr Oakley conceded that despite the cover costing much less for younger people, those most attracted by the policies are people over the age of 60.

Among them is Stephen Eastwood, aged 69, and his wife Nancy, of Kettering, who recently took out a PPP Lifetime plan.

Mr Eastwood, a former Crown Court recorder, said: 'I am thinking about my in-laws' own parents. The wife had Alzheimer's Disease, although not for very long.

'Her husband hung on, but eventually had to go on to a home. The house was sold and it was just about enough to provide for him.

'We decided that if anything were to happen to us, we did not want to burden our children with the cost of caring for either of us. We pay about pounds 60 a month and would receive benefits of about pounds 120 a week.'

Another company offering a similar scheme is Commercial Union. Sandy Johnstone, marketing director of its Well-being scheme, said: 'Long-term insurance has very much been based on pure risk.

'If you die or discontinue your premiums you get nothing, which is terrible if you have just paid a large lump sum. What we have done for lump sums is added life assurance for the first five years of the single premium. On regular premiums, we introduce a paid-up value if they have made contributions for at least five years.'

For example, a woman aged 60 may be paying pounds 90 a month for pounds 10,000 of annual cover, rising by 5 per cent each year. If, after 13 years, she can no longer pay her premiums, her policy becomes paid up, but she will now receive pounds 7,400 of annual cover, rising by 5 per cent each year.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Denny Miller in 1959 remake of Tarzan, the Ape Man
people
Arts and Entertainment
Cheryl despairs during the arena auditions
tvX Factor review: Drama as Cheryl and Simon spar over girl band

News
Piers Morgan tells Scots they might not have to suffer living on the same island as him if they vote ‘No’ to Scottish Independence
news
News
i100Exclusive interview with the British analyst who helped expose Bashar al-Assad's use of Sarin gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Angel Di Maria celebrates his first goal for Manchester United against QPR
Football4-0 victory is team's first win under new manager Louis van Gaal
Arts and Entertainment
art
News
newsIn short, yes
Arts and Entertainment
Rob James-Collier, who plays under-butler Thomas Barrow, admitted to suffering sleepless nights over the Series 5 script
tv'Thomas comes right up to the abyss', says the actor
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris claimed the top spot in this week's single charts
music
Sport
BoxingVideo: The incident happened in the very same ring as Tyson-Holyfield II 17 years ago
News
Groundskeeper Willie has backed Scottish independence in a new video
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor poses the question of whether we are every truly alone in 'Listen'
tvReview: Possibly Steven Moffat's most terrifying episode to date
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Cara Delevigne at the TopShop Unique show during London Fashion Week
fashion
News
The life-sized tribute to Amy Winehouse was designed by Scott Eaton and was erected at the Stables Market in Camden
peopleBut quite what the singer would have made of her new statue...
Sport
England's Andy Sullivan poses with his trophy and an astronaut after winning a trip to space
sport
News
peopleThe actress has agreed to host the Met Gala Ball - but not until 2015
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SQL Developer - Watford/NW London - £280 - £320 p/d - 6 months

£280 - £320 per day: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have been engaged by a l...

Senior BA - Insurance **URGENT**

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: **URGENT CONTRACT ROLE**...

Training Coordinator / Resource Planner - City, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Training Coordinator / Pl...

Data Governance Manager (Solvency II) – Contract – Up to £450 daily rate, 6 month (may go Permanent)

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently looking...

Day In a Page

These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week
The fall of Rome? Cash-strapped Italy accused of selling its soul to the highest bidder

The fall of Rome?

Italy's fears that corporate-sponsored restoration projects will lead to the Disneyfication of its cultural heritage
Glasgow girl made good

Glasgow girl made good

Kelly Macdonald was a waitress when she made Trainspotting. Now she’s taking Manhattan
Sequins ahoy as Strictly Come Dancing takes to the floor once more

Sequins ahoy as Strictly takes to the floor once more

Judy Murray, Frankie Bridge and co paired with dance partners
Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Wearable trainers and other sporty looks

Alexander Wang pumps it up at New York Fashion Week
The landscape of my imagination

The landscape of my imagination

Author Kate Mosse on the place that taught her to tell stories