Cap set for residential care costs

The government has set a cap on how much you will have to spend on your long term care needs. But the cap won't now come in until April 2020 because of the cost.

The cap will mean that anything you (or your local council) spend on your eligible needs will be added together in your care account. Once it reaches £72,000, the council will pay for all your eligible needs. This proposed figure for the cap of £72,000 could be increased in line with inflation over the next four years.

The cap is good news, but not as generous as it looks at first sight. It represents the amount of care you could buy - but only at the rate your local authority would pay, not the actual charges made by the care home you have chosen.

What's more, the cap just covers care costs - not the cost of board and lodging in the home. Based on the average cost of a care home in England, it has been estimated that someone might need to have spent over £150,000 before they reach the cap. Even then, the state will only continue to pay the local authority cost of care, leaving the person in care to continue finding the balance.

For the time being at least, talking to an adviser who is qualified to advise on care fees funding will continue to fulfil a critical need for those who might need care or have elderly relatives who do so.