Who Cares? Balance of Responsibility (Funding)

Who Cares? event

Comments from Lisburn Discussion Event:

  • Need to consider how and where money is spent – there is duplication in the system which should be identified and eliminated – and then re-invested
  • In reality there will come a point when there is no money in the pot for free care and anyone with assets will have to pay all or part to their social care.
  • You could put extra national insurance into a pot to pay for your care e.g an extra 5 pounds per week?
  • Responsibility of both government and yourself to pay for your care needs – basic level free / upgraded package pay for it yourself
  • People who say “I’ve worked all my life and paid taxes” are an insult to carers – carers took responsibility for family member and have worked their whole lives in their caring role – but often are victimised as “scroungers”
  • Everyone at the table was happy that people should be expected to pay something- ie their pensions, benefits etc
  • Everyone at the table agreed that the cost of care was much too high and charging 500 or more per week was not justified.
  • It’s not fair that people who have nothing get everything paid for
  • Very rich should pay for their care
  • People should start planning for future care needs when they start work;
  • Very few countries have free care. It has to be paid for by somebody. View at this table: Government Only – 4; Individual – 0; Shared – 4

Cap on Care Costs

  • People don’t have the £75,000 currently being discussed as the amount that everyone would have to pay towards their care. Must do a better job of discussing these issues with younger people so they are aware of them and start planning and saving when they are young. The £75,000 figure may be possible in England but not for people in NI.
  • Support for a cap on a person’s liability to contribute to care costs like was recently announced for England and Wales, however many expressions that £75,000 is too high for NI;
  • Those above the threshold end up worse off than those with no money

Means Testing

  • It is unfair to means test in relation to social care. Once again it is penalising a section of people who have worked hard.
  • Care should be means tested
  • Everything should be means tested – it is fair
  • If people can afford their care they should pay – cannot see a problem with that
  • There should be some form of means testing but more generous than the current system

Using Personal Assets

  • Concern that people with some savings are penalised by means testing as they aren’t eligible for support; it is unfair to penalize savers
  • Current system is unfair. People get the same provision regardless of whether you’ve worked and saved all your life or done nothing. The system penalizes savers and shouldn’t.
  • No one should have to sell their home to fund care. A person’s home is the centre of their life and very important emotionally. Selling it is devastating, and the government doesn’t seem to acknowledge that.
  • Everyone at the table agreed that individuals should not have to sell their homes to pay for their care. Everyone was strongly opposed to this.
  • Should be entitled to keep savings and home; should be able to leave home to family
  • All at the table agreed that people should not have to sell their home to fund their care.
  • It’s not fair that you work all your life and have to use your savings to pay for your care
  • You should not have to pay if you need to go into a home – we work hard all of our lives and those who sit on benefits don’t have to pay anything and we get the same service at the end of it
  • Older people should not have to sell their family home to pay for care. This has such an emotional impact on older people. It is not just a house – it is a home where they brought up children etc. They are selling their memories.

Governmental Responsibility

  • It should all lie with the government as we have worked all our lives and contributed through national contributions. We are being penalised for saving.
  • Group felt that the Government should pay; they promised the NHS “Dream” Cradle to grave and are now reneging. You work and pay NHS Contribution and hope to reach pension age and get a pension (they keep moving retirement later and later). If you can’t look after yourself does your pension contribute to your care. It was felt you are penalised for making adequate provision for older age.
  • Social care should be free at the point of use

Comments from the Omagh Discussion Events

  • We are all older – we cannot put anymore into the system – we have no capacity to earn any more – cannot pay any more taxes
  • When you grow older you need some reassurance and protection that you will be looked after
  • The government if it got rid of their own wastage could probably pay for more services.
  • There needs to be a system where people who are older will not face a massive payment at that stage of their life.
  • Would really help resources if people were educated to understand the importance of keeping their appointments with GP, dentist, optician etc.. Because they are free, people don’t attach great value to these services and don’t always cancel appointments when they can’t keep them. Lots of wastage in the system which could be re-allocated.
  • You could be in a bed somewhere next to someone who did not work a day in their lives and so are getting free care while you have to pay for yours – very unfair.
  • Care homes are too expensive
  • The cap on costs introduced in the UK is £75K; the table felt this was a very high amount given the drop in prices of land and property it was generally felt this was much too high.
  • Someone who didn’t invest for the future gets it for free. unfair
  • Encourage young people to plan for their future by taking out insurance policies for their care
  • Responsibility of both government and yourself to pay for your care needs – basic level free / upgraded package pay for it yourself
  • Money is wasted too often – too many chiefs at the top
  • Voluntary sector offer better value for money than other delivery mechanisms
  • Maybe it’s better to spend everything now and end up in residential or nursing care – you are warm and fed!
  • Someone recommended that care homes should replicate the business model set out by John Lewis where they are shareholders in the business and anything left over from buying a stake in the home goes to the family.
  • Massive numbers of young unemployed people who could be providing services for older people such as walking dogs, cutting grass. They shouldn’t just get benefits but rather be made to work for their community.
  • Your own responsibility to pay for house keeping; shopping etc especially if you receive Attendance allowance, but attendance allowance should be given to family carers
  • That there should not be a health tax or health bond because with this generation because they were under the impression they had a social contract with the government that if they paid tax and National insurance they would be taken care of.
  • People spoke about the importance of having a cap in place that people would not just keep draining away their assets and savings.
  • Younger people contribute more in their taxes etc so they provide for their own care. That'll have to happen.
  • One suggestion was that the Lottery money is used for social care as opposed to good causes
  • Prescriptions – those who can afford to pay for prescriptions should pay – this would generate some additional funds.
  • Social care tax – perception that we are already paying for care through tax.
  • Lack of knowledge about how “Universal Credit” works.
  • Some support for a new social care tax with people paying in a few £s a week so their support needs are met later in life. Very strong feeling that, if this were introduced, people receiving benefits should have to contribute too;
  • Older people dread not having enough money to even bury themselves;

Means Testing

  • General consensus that it should be means tested but there was concern that middle income people always lose out.
  • There should be some type of means testing
  • Care should be means tested
  • Means testing is a bit unfair in a number of ways in relation to paying for care e.g.: Asset rich and cash poor people who don’t want to sell their house.
  • Who pays? Should be means tested but with sliding scales to determine eligibility. However, some also thought that means testing should be abolished as it slows up the system and only 5% of people are affected.

Using Personal Assets

  • Very strong views on having to sell property which could have been in the family for generations and which they had to work hard to acquire. This is not fair; why should they be penalised.
  • I don’t think it’s right to have to sell my home
  • Why should you have to pay to go into a care home and you have paid for your own house? Unfair
  • People work hard to get a house and some savings and want to leave it to family – lot of group support for this point of view. Especially true of farm homes – is there protection – land in family for generations, shouldn’t just be able to take it away

Governmental Responsibility

  • I have worked all my life and stamped my card – I have already paid into government – why should I pay again.
  • Unfair to have worked and paid National Insurance, built up savings, have bought your own home and then have to pay for care. It’s like paying for it twice
Age NI Advice Line:
0808 808 7575

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