Social care postcode lottery: Fully funded care six times more likely in some areas

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Over 65s are facing a social care postcode lottery, with people in some areas six times more likely to be fully-funded, according to new research.

A study by Key, an independent equity release adviser, uncovered that British pensioners make 1.31 million requests for care and support every year, but whether or not they receive full funding for their care depends on where they live.

Key’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request to 205 local authorities found that currently councils provide support for 568,867 over-65s.  Of these, 175,256 (31%) are fully-funded and 300,287 (53%) are partially funded while 19 councils were unable to provide information on the level of funding for 93,324 people (16%).

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But the average for England, Scotland and Wales conceals a wide range of regional differences with local authorities in the East of England the most likely to provide full funding.

As the table shows below, an average 68% of applicants in this area were fully-funded – six times as many as in the North East, where 11% are fully funded.

East 29,334 13,813 68% 652
London 22,937 27,596 39% 317
East Midlands 6,019 27,402 17% 440
West Midlands 11,124 27,710 19% 860
North East 2,980 8,045 11% 498
North West 11,609 20,023 23% 700
Scotland 8,108 24,817 22% 453
South East 35,756 72,741 28% 1,260
South West 27,509 29,920 45% 661
Wales 3,061 14,359 16% 478
Yorkshire 15,162 31,464 33% 563
GREAT BRITAIN 173,599 297,890 31% 6,882

The FOI established that 6,882 retired homeowners are currently using Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs) to pay for care.

DPAs are most likely to be used in the West Midlands and East of England where each local authority has on average 72 and 71 in place respectively while London (11) and Scotland (16) have the lowest on average.

Will Hale, CEO at Key said: With 1.31 million requests for care and support each year – a figure that is only going to climb – as a country, we face some tough choices around what we can afford to offer.  Local authorities and Government are under pressure and while the upcoming Green Paper should provide some clarification, the likelihood is that many will need to find some if not all the money needed to pay for care.

“While few people want to consider the prospect of needing care and how they might meet this cost, it is vital that they do. Starting to think about care funding early, speaking to their families, considering all the funding options available and getting good advice is essential.  This will help people to crack the care code and ensure that they make considered sustainable choices about what is a very emotive topic.”

Responding to the research, Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: “Over recent years, councils have protected adult social care relative to other services. But the scale of the overall funding picture for local government as a whole means adult social care services still face a £3.6 billion funding gap by 2025, just to maintain existing standards of care. The likely consequences of this are more and more people being unable to get quality and reliable care and support, which enables them to live more fulfilling lives.

“This is something that the Government must address in its Green Paper on social care and in the forthcoming Spending Review.”

Tags : Freedom of InformationFundingKeypostcode lottery
Sarah Clarke

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