Means-testing threshold frozen for 14th year: will self-funded care become the norm?

The financial thresholds for charging for care in 2024-25 will stay the same as they were set back in 2010. 


This means that more responsibility for funding care services will fall on individuals, as the government has not adjusted the thresholds for means-testing for the 14th year in a row. 


Consequently, a growing number of people in England will find themselves having to cover the costs of their care independently.


What does this look like in practice? 


Those with assets exceeding £23,250 will still be responsible for covering the entire cost of their care, unless their local council opts for a higher threshold for services other than permanent care home placements, which is rare.


For those with assets below £14,250, they won’t need to contribute from these assets, but they will be expected to utilise their income for financing services, similar to the current arrangement. If someone falls between the two thresholds, they will be required to contribute up to £36 per week from their assets towards their care.


The capital thresholds consider the value of the person’s home if they reside in a permanent care home and their home is not occupied by their partner, a relative aged 60 or older, someone incapacitated, or a child.


More people paying for care


Between 2008-10 and 2018-20, the average household wealth in Great Britain surged by 50% in monetary terms, climbing from £204,300 to £302,500, as per the Office for National Statistics data.


Consequently, due to the continuous freeze in capital thresholds, more individuals are being pushed into fully funding or bearing a larger portion of their care expenses each year.


The government’s announcement comes amidst delays in implementing social care charging reforms, which were intended to raise the lower capital threshold to £20,000 and the upper limit to £100,000. The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) estimates that these changes would render an additional 50,000 people eligible for state funding towards their care annually.


Originally scheduled for implementation in October 2023, these reforms, which also involve capping individuals’ liability for personal care at £86,000, are now set to be introduced in October 2025.


Will self-funded care become the norm? 


Overall, it appears that self-funded care is increasingly becoming the norm in the UK, particularly due to the ongoing freeze in capital thresholds and delays in implementing social care charging reforms. This trend is expected to continue unless significant changes are made to government policies regarding social care funding.

carlette Isaac

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