22 August 2013
The Minister for Social Security has published a report today (Thursday 22 August) on the new scheme that will help Islanders pay for care, either in their own home or in a care home. If the States agree, 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 explain how the new long-term care scheme will work. It will particularly help people who currently have to pay for all or much of their care themselves. Such costs can run into thousands of pounds a month, 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 lifetime care costs. This “care costs cap” of £50,000 will protect people in care for a long time from 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 more people will be eligible for means-tested support to help pay their care fees. For many people this means the value of the family home will be taken out of the equation, 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 from the same asset disregard.
Care homes fees include accommodation and other day to day living costs, as well as care 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 their living costs and will continue to do so. They will not need to pay a 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 are cared for at home or in a care home.
Contributions to begin in 2015 at 0.5%
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 these proposals share the responsibility for care costs fairly between individuals 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.”
Keeping money in the economy
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 while 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.