Pensioners face paying £150,000 for their residential care before they hit the official £72,000 cap on care costs, according to new analysis published by Labour.
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.
Labour analysis shows 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. But 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 will not count towards the cap.
Pensioners in care homes will also have to pay £230 a week for their “hotel and accommodation” costs, which also do not 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 £72,000 Government cap.
LEBC Group divisional director Kay Ingram says: “The truth is that many who require care and have their own assets end up funding everything themselves.
“The system is too complex and delivery of information and advice is patchy, so many lose out on benefits to which they are legitimately entitled.”