The Government is setting up a working group on long-term care which will explore ways of directing people to specialist independent financial advice.
This afternoon, alongside the Social Care Bill and white paper, the Government published its progress report on funding of the long-term care. It says the Government intends to base the new funding model on the recommendation of the Dilnot Commission which said the total cost of care should be capped at £35,000 and for the means-tested threshold to be raised from £23,500 to £100,000.
The report says people need better information and support to understand their options.
It says: “We will set up an expert working group involving the Government, the financial services sector, local authorities and the care sector to support development of the information offer. The group will explore how the sector as a whole can contribute, and make links with pensions, benefits, wider services and specialist financial advice to ensure the offer is comprehensive.”
According to the white paper, local authorities will be required to “develop and commission a range of independent advice and support options”.
Speaking in Parliament, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “To make it easier for people to get the care they want we will make sure they have better access to independent advice.”
In November, Partnership managing director care Chris Horlick told the Health select committee that councils should refer people who fund their own long-term care needs to IFAs.
He says: “Our research shows a minimum 41 per cent of people going into care are self funded and 55 per cent are part funded by the state and part self-funded.
“Local authorites have little interest in them, they are given a brochure and are often left to their own devices. We also found that out of 53,000 self-funders only 7,000 got app financial advice so it is hardly surprising 1 in 4 self funders run out of money and fall back on the state.”
In February, the committee’s report on social care called on the Government to work with industry to create a viable market for financial products able to fund long-term care costs.