Budget fails to offer clarity or funding for elderly care crisis #BrowellSmithCares

The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget 2017 came and went, and there was no mention of any measures to tackle the growing elderly care crisis.

We weren’t expecting miracles – the public purse-strings are pulled as tightly closed as ever – but were hoping for at least a mention of elderly social care.

To ignore it altogether fails to appreciate the depth of the crisis that is threatening to engulf us all. It’s already in a very poor state – without radical action, many more millions of people are going to be affected.

Or, perhaps, it shows the extent to which the Government had its fingers burnt just before the General Election on what is becoming an especially warm political hot potato.

The scary thought is that this is simply too big a problem to tackle: no solution is presenting itself, and any real overhaul of the system would likely involve greater levels of taxation, a politically unpopular move that a weakened Government would struggle to implement.

What is the elderly care crisis?

Simply put, there isn’t enough money around to provide care for all the people who need it.

Not enough people have enough money set aside to pay for their care in the future, and public funds are stretched to breaking point by a growing elderly population: people are living for much longer, saving less than ever and social care budgets are incredibly low.

Statistics suggest that 850,000 people have dementia in the UK today. This is set to rise to one million by 2025, and two million by 2051.

Yet already, in 2017, people who have worked all their lives, paying National Insurance for decades, cannot depend on the state for care when they need it.

As the Dispatches show on Channel 4 revealed this week, many cash-strapped local authorities are deliberately making it as difficult as possible to access the support to which many people are entitled.

The lack of funding has led to the introduction of various levels of means testing before people are able to access state care – we outlined this issue here. In brief, many people are expected to use their own assets (ie their homes) to fund their own care when they become dependent.

Are there ways to avoid using your own house to pay for care?

This is where it gets complicated: there are a number of ways to avoid doing this, but some of these should be avoided.

Again, Dispatches showed that it is all too easy to fall victim to unscrupulous people offering solutions that are too good to be true.

We will explain the issues around avoiding care home fees in detail in a forthcoming blog. For now, if you believe a relative has been paying when they shouldn’t have been, or you believe they should be granted access to NHS Continuous Care, Browell Smith & Co Solicitors may be able to help.

Life planning is a strong speciality of ours and we can help put plans in place to ensure that you receive the care you need, when you need it.

For more information about our Lasting Powers of Attorney, Wills and Trusts, or Care Home Fees services, contact us today on 0800 107 3000.

The issue of elderly care is huge: Browell Smith & Co will be addressing many of the key issues on this blog and via our social media channels, as part of our #BrowellSmithCares campaign over the winter months.

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