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Govt could extend LTC deferred payment support

Care services minister Norman Lamb says the Government could increase the means test for the deferred payments system under long-term care reforms.

Under the Care Bill the deferred payments system will only apply to those with less than £23,250 in non-property assets.

The deferred payments scheme, which will be offered by all councils, will allow individuals to use equity in their homes to defer care payments until they die and their home is sold.

Speaking at an Association of British Insurers conference in London today, Lamb said the Government could open up the scheme to those with non-property assets up to £100,000.

Labour peer Lord David Lipsey tabled amendments in the Lords calling for the means test to end as it “cuts the balls off” reforms as it undermines the aim of the Bill to stop people selling their homes. Campaigners for a universal scheme claim self-funders will sell their homes rather than run down assets.

Lamb said: “If someone has significant assets beyond their home so do not have to sell, we don’t think it should be available to those people. There should be other products available.

“The upfront cost significantly increases for us so it is a question of balance and targeting resources at those who most need it.

“We consulted on £23,250 but we haven’t reached a conclusion. We are listening to all views expressed including from Lord Lipsey.

“I am not convinced by the argument that someone with assets of £100,000 beyond their home needs access to a deferred payment.”

Lamb also rejected calls for mandatory regulated advice to apply to deferred payments schemes despite ex-care minister Paul Burstow warning there is a “spectre of a misselling scandal”.

It is understood Department of Health officials are concerned about poor regulated advice leaving the Government open to legal challenge if it extended regulated advice to everyone.


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