Not much of a cap

When the BBC digs into something, it digs hard, so its report on the ‘cap’ on care costs of £72,000 that comes in in 2016 was probably shocking to many of its readers and listeners.

As previous researchers have already said, many people will only have their care costs capped after they spent £140,000 or more of their own money. This is because the cap applies only from the point when the local authority agrees that the individual’s needs exceeds the ‘high needs’ threshold; it applies only to the care cost (not the £230 per week ‘hotel’ element of care home fees); and the cap assumes the local authority payment rate to care homes, which typically charge individuals funding their own care people significantly more.

As the BBC reports, the government estimates that only one in eight eligible people will actually benefit from the ‘care cap’. Why so few? it asks, and answers: because the average stay in a care home is only two years. Most people will die before they become eligible for any state help.