Proposed Changes to Social Care Fees

Written by Emma Adkins
Private Client Consultant Solicitor

Last month the government revealed its proposed changes to the social care system, and in particular the funding of it. Read on to learn how social care fees may be changing.

social care fees

Currently in England, if an individual requires social care, they are required to fund this themselves, unless they have less than £23,250 worth of assets. At this point, the government will make a contribution towards the costs. Once the individual’s assets fall below £14,250, the government will cover the cost (although the individual may still have to contribute from their income).

If someone is receiving care in their own home, then the value of that property is not included when calculating the assets for the above tests. This is also the case if the individual is not living at home, but their spouse, partner, civil partner or certain other relatives are still living at the property.

The new system, which is due to apply from October 2023, proposes changes in the form of a higher threshold from which government contributions start, and an overall cap on how much each individual has to pay for their care during their lifetime.

Under the new system, individuals could receive help with the cost of care if their assets are worth less than £100,000, and the government would pay for the care if the individual’s assets fall below £20,000. As is the case under the current rules, an individual may still have to contribute from their income. Again, the property will not be taken into account if it is still being lived in by the individual or certain family members.

The ‘care cap’ has been the main headline of the new proposals, suggesting that nobody will have to pay more than £86,000 for their personal care. Although this sounds more appealing than the current system, where there is no cap, it is important to note that the cap only applies to the fees associated with personal care, and not to general living costs. An individual living in a nursing home could therefore still incur large fees, to cover their accommodation, food and general living expenses. For some people, these costs could be well in excess of £100,000 before the care fee element has even reached the cap of £86,000, and there is also no cap on these ‘living expenses’ fees.

It is important to point out that an individual cannot simply give away their assets to reduce their capital to below the means tested thresholds. If this is done with the intention of not paying for care, it is known as a deliberate deprivation and can effectively be set aside (and the value still included as part of the means test).

However, by structuring your will in the right way, you can ensure that your assets do not end up paying for your spouse/partner’s social care fees, and instead benefit your children or other chosen beneficiaries.

If you are concerned about the impact of care fees on your assets, or would like to start planning for the future costs of care, please contact Emma Adkins on 07873154509 or