Long term care proposals misunderstood

A Financial Times reader poll on the government’s proposals for reform of long term care revealed widespread misunderstanding (and that’s the FT’s readership!). Most people thought that costs would start to count towards the cap (above which the state picks up the tab) as soon as someone was assessed as needing care by a local authority. Not so – the clock starts only when someone’s need is assessed as ‘severe’ or ‘substantial’. And over two-thirds of people believe that accommodation and food costs count towards the £72,000 cap – they don’t, and can account for a third of the total costs of residential care.

Most importantly, many people think the proposals mean they won’t have to sell their home – but that’s not true either, since your home still counts towards the value of your assets, and any capital above £23,250 (in England) has to be spent before the state picks up the bill.