Pensioners face paying £150,000 for their residential care before they hit the official £72,000 cap on care costs, new analysis published by Labour shows.
Ahead of the House of Commons debate on the Care Bill today, Labour says pensioners needing long-term care will pay double the £72,000 ministers have claimed.
The £72,000 cap is being introduced as part of major reforms to long-term care funding with the stated aim of stopping people being forced to sell their homes to pay for care.
The amount funders can charge against the cap is based on the standard rate local authorities pay for a bed in a care home in their area, not the actual amount self-funders are charged – which is often much higher than the council rate.
In April 2016, when the cap comes into force, Labour says the average council rate for residential care is estimated to be £522 a week.
However, the average price of a care home bed will be £610 a week, and hundreds of pounds more in many areas.
The difference between the council rate and what pensioners actually pay won’t count towards the cap.
Pensioners in care homes will also have to pay £230 a week for their “hotel and accommodation” costs, which are counted separately from care and don’t count towards the cap.
When both these factors are taken into account, Labour says it could take almost five years for elderly people to hit the Government cap.
Labour estimates they will have clocked up more than £150,000 for their actual residential care home bill. As a result Labour’s analysis reveals six out of seven elderly people will have died before they reach the care cap.
Shadow minister for care and older people Liz Kendall says: “David Cameron has repeatedly claimed that no-one will have to pay more than £72,000 to pay for their care, but this simply isn’t the case.
“On average, pensioners will have to pay more than twice this amount, and the vast majority will have died before they hit the so-called ‘cap’.
“David Cameron should be straight with elderly people about what they will really have to pay for their care. Families deserve to be told the facts, rather than being conned, so they can properly plan for the future, and not have the Government attempt to pull the wool over their eyes.”