Age UK reveals care home ‘stealth tax’

A quarter of care home residents whose care is supposed to be free are being forced to pay top-up fees, an Age UK report has revealed.

Almost 50,000 families are being forced to pay up to thousands of pounds of year in fees which are meant to be voluntary, the Behind the Headlines report shows.

The research shows that people who have qualified for state-funded support with assets up to £23,250 are being forced to pay top-up weekly fees of between £25 and £100.

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Families are being forced to pay for ‘free’ care in order for their loved ones to stay in their chosen area. Top-up fees are also being demanded if the cost of care at a home has gone up or if a ‘self funder’ has run out of money so they become eligible for free care.

Age UK said local authorities were taking advantage of a law which was designed to give elderly people more comfort and freedom.

The charity said the practice of charging top-up fees was also holding up hospital discharges by imposing extra charges which families could not pay.

Age UK called on called on councils to make costs more transparent for residents’ families. The charity added that care home contracts should provide residents with much greater protection against eviction and should clearly set out the circumstances in which providers can give residents notice to leave.

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3 Comments

  1. A Owner said:

    That’s becasue the local councils are not paying the care homes enough to look after people. We are currently paid less than £2.50 per hour to look after residential patients by the council. Its not enough !

  2. SBT said:

    I do believe that there would be wisdom in exploring this from all angles before casting drama and emotive use of language before the vulnerable. People are concerned about their health and morbidity.
    Reduced fees can often mean reduced quality of care, quality of food, equipment, numbers of staff, levels of training etc.
    Landlords ‘evict’, care homes ‘serve notice’ when they cannot provide care for whatever reason.
    Please do your research and proffer solution

  3. SjC said:

    Very Inflammatory headline!

    The Natwest Care Home Benchmarking Report 2016-2017 states the rate paid for London & South East by Local Authorities is on average £605 per week.

    I have just gone on the XXX(Budget Hotel Chain) Lodge website to see what a room only rate there is (No Food & obviously no 24 hour residential or nursing care included) and the lowest I could find is:
    London Covent Garden
    Chargeable parking nearby
    From £843

    Now how can that be right?

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