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Welfare and Pensions Welfare and Pensions

Include the family home when calculating assets to pay for domestic or residential care

Last updated: 03:13pm 5 March 2019

First, we will align the future basis for means-testing for domiciliary care with that for residential care, so that people are looked after in the place that is best for them. This will mean that the value of the family home will be taken into account along with other assets and income, whether care is provided at home, or in a residential or nursing care home.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.65

Our verdict

This one of a bundle of policies (or “connected measures”) designed to tackle the issue of a rapidly ageing population and make the cost fairer for future generations. It caused a fair bit of controversy when the manifesto was released, and was branded the “dementia tax” by its critics.

First let’s explain where this policy sits within the bundle of policies, then we’ll describe progress. It’s fair to say this isn’t straightforward, so we have some useful articles at the end if you want to know more. But for now, here’s a quick summary.

There are three core policies that are all connected, and we’re tracking each of these separately:

  1. Your home will be included when calculating your ability to pay for care, whether residential care or at home. Previously the home was only included for residential care. This policy is tracked on this page.
  2. There will be a limit to how much of your “assets” (anything you own of value) that you’ll have to use to pay for care. That limit is £100,000. This policy is tracked separately here.
  3. You won’t have to sell your house in order to pay for the care you receive – whether at home or residential care. Previously only those receiving care in residential homes could defer in this way. This policy is tracked separately here.

What’s happened so far?

Such was the controversy immediately after the Conservative Party manifesto was launched, that a few days later Theresa May – as leader of the Conservative Party – made a public announcement to clarify the details of this policy. The clarification then led to suggestions there had been a change of mind about these policies, and this was again suggested when there was little mention of these policies in the government’s first Queen’s Speech (which sets out the policy goals for the coming year).

However, what was included in the Queen’s Speech was the pledge that “ministers will work to improve social care and will bring forward proposals for consultation”. The government later confirmed that the consultation would be launched by the Summer of 2018, though it is yet to start.

So, given there hasn’t been a consultation yet (which would be the very beginning of the process) and with no mention of funding for social care in the NHS Long Term Plan launched in January 2019, this policy should be considered ‘not started’. It is premature to conclude that this and the other connected measures have been dropped, but we’ll revisit this once the consultation is open. Follow this policy for updates.

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