Fully-funded care four times more likely in some parts of the country

People and their families continue to face a social care postcode lottery, according to new research.

Data published by equity release adviser Key shows that people in the East of England are four more times more likely to be fully funded than those in Wales and the East Midlands.

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.

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“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.”

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

As the table shows below, 68% of applicants in the East of England were fully-funded – four times as many as in Wales and the East Midlands, with 16% and 17%, respectively.

The research found that 6,882 retired homeowners are using Deferred Payment Agreements (DPAs) to pay for care. This requires using the value of their home to fund residential care and then repaying the local authority when the house is sold or they die.

DPAs were most commonly used in the West Midlands and East of England with each local authority having an average of 72 and 71 in place, respectively, with London (11) and Scotland (16) having the lowest average.

The study found that just 21% of over 55s had made provision for their care. Around 44% said they would use savings for their care and 40% believed their pensions would cover the cost.

Around 19% said they would need to use their property wealth, with unmortgaged property value standing at £1.1trn for the over 65s.

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