The Minister for Social Security has published a report today (Thursday 22 August) on the new scheme that will help support people with the cost of care delivered in their own home or in a care home. Subject to States approval, the new long-term care scheme will start in July 2014.
The Minister for Social Security, Senator Francis Le Gresley, said: “I am pleased to set out in detail how the new long-term care scheme will work. This scheme will particularly help people who currently face having to pay for all or much of their care themselves. Such costs can run into thousands of pounds a month, especially hitting hard-working Jersey families who have bought their own home, been careful with their finances and are looking to pass something on to family members. ”
Under the proposed arrangements, Islanders will be protected in two ways:
- A £50,000 cap on the level of lifetime care costs. This “care costs cap” of £50,000 will protect people who stay in care for a long time from bearing care costs that can run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. Once someone reaches the cap, they will receive the new long-term care benefit.
- Assets of £419,000 will be exempt from any means-testing calculation so that many more people will be able to access means-tested support to help pay their care fees. For many people this means that the value of the family home will be taken out of the equation altogether, while for those living in higher-value properties a major proportion of the value will be secure. Non-homeowners with high levels of savings will also benefit because the same asset disregard will apply to them.
Aside from the costs of care, fees levied by care homes include the costs of accommodation and other day to day living costs. Those people living in a care home will be expected to make a co-payment of at least £300 a week towards these costs. Those receiving care in their own home will already be covering these living costs and will continue to do so and therefore will not need to pay the co-payment. Means-tested support will be available for those who need help with the co-payment.
As far as possible, people with long-term care needs will be able to choose whether they have the care delivered at home or in a care home.
The Minister for Social Security also commented: “Since my previous statement in June, I’ve held discussions with ministerial colleagues and have received a detailed report from the Economic Advisor. With the support of the Treasury and Resources Minister and Chief Minister, I am now pleased to announce that additional funding for the scheme in 2014 and 2015 will come from existing States resources. This allows the benefit to be launched in July 2014 as planned, while acknowledging the challenging economic times that the Island still faces.
“From January 2015, Islanders will pay a new long-term care contribution of 0.5% of their taxable income into a ring-fenced long-term care fund. In 2016 this contribution will be set at 1%. The intention is to keep it at this level for at least three years.”
”I believe that these proposals share the responsibility for care costs fairly between individuals who are receiving care and the wider community. The scheme I am proposing is based on firm financial principles and will be sustainable into the future, balancing the benefits it provides for those who need care against the costs it imposes on the population as a whole.”
The Chief Minister, Senator Ian Gorst, who as Social Security Minister took the framework long-term care law through the States in July 2011, welcomed the proposals:”I think the proposals offer a workable, enduring and affordable solution to the challenge of an ageing population and rising long-term care costs. These proposals make the financial aspects of moving into care more certain and less worrying for families. At the same time I know that people wish to remain in their own home for as long as possible and the scheme will encourage this.”
In supporting the scheme, the Treasury and Resources Minister, Senator Philip Ozouf, said: “I recognise the importance of this scheme to Islanders and the Treasury is therefore making available resources so it can start as planned next year. Reallocating existing Social Security budgets avoids the need to introduce a 1% contribution in 2014 and prevents money being taken out of the economy whilst it is still under pressure. This is a significant new scheme for the Island and we will undertake a full actuarial review at the end of 2016 to ensure that both contributions and benefits are set at sustainable levels. ”
The Minister for Health and Social Services, Deputy Anne Pryke, also backed the scheme. She said: ”These plans dovetail well with the proposals in our ‘Caring for each other…caring for ourselves’ White Paper in supporting people to remain independent in their own homes and within the community.”
The existing Income Support residential care scheme will continue while these new arrangements are being put in place.