This historic plan for adult social care will protect individuals and families from unpredictable and potentially catastrophic care costs.
From October 2023, no eligible person starting adult social care will have to pay more than £86,000 for personal care over their lifetime. To be clear, the cap is not a target to be hit, but a backstop protection to ensure people have certainty and avoid catastrophic costs. The reformed means test, which is the best way to help make care affordable, will increase the threshold above which people must meet the full cost of their care to £100,000. This is more than four times the current limit of £23,250, and the number of people receiving state support in the social care system will increase from around half to two thirds.
In designing these reforms, the priority has been the creating a more generous means-testing system, which benefits those with low to moderate wealth. The nature of the means-test will dramatically reduce the amount that less well-off users will have to spend on care. For example, someone who has £100,000 of assets would need to draw on care and support in a residential home for about 10 years to spend the same amount as someone who entirely self-funds. Older adults have around a one-in-three chance of living in a residential home for three years and a one in 50 chance of doing so for 10 years.
Only the amount that an individual contributes towards their personal care will count towards the cap. This ensures that individuals living in different parts of the country, but contributing the same amount, do not progress towards the cap at different rates because of differences in amounts paid by their local authorities. It is right that less well-off people in different parts of the country benefit to the same extent and we do not see differences based simply on where someone lives.
The new social care reforms are clear, fair and reduce complexity. I am proud to support a Government that is tackling the issue of social care reform head on, significantly improving the sustainability and affordability of the provision of social care.