The new long-term care scheme designed to ease the huge costs of caring for the elderly has come into force today.
The scheme creates a system of assessments and means-tested benefits for people who need care – whether they live in their own homes or in residential or care homes – and caps the maximum amount that any single person will have to pay over their lifetime at £52,120.
Once that threshold has been reached – or if a couple reaches £78,180 in care costs - the fund will cover future costs, although claimants will be able to “top up” their payments to pay for extra services.
A new charge of 0.5% of earnings will be levied through the Income Tax system from 1 January – raising to 1% from 2016 – to pay for the scheme, but it will start paying out benefits from today.
The system was set up by the Social Security department to stop people having to sell their homes to pay for expensive care in their last few years. It applies not just to the elderly, but to anyone who needs daily help with essential activities like bathing, eating and dressing.
Benefits will be paid out immediately to people who are already receiving long-term care. There are 1,100 people in long-term care in Jersey, and 60% of them are already being supported by the States – those people have been moved into the new system as of today.
Social Security Minister Francis Le Gresley said that a list of approved carers and care homes had been set up at the Jersey Online Directoy jod.je to help make the new system as simple as possible.
Senator Le Gresley said: “There are a significant number of people who currently fund their care completely independently of States departments.
“My officers have worked closely with local care homes and care providers to offer people in this group the opportunity to pre-register for the new scheme. Many people have taken up this offer, and have already received a care assessment under the new Long Term Care scheme.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the care homes and providers who have worked hard behind the scenes to facilitate this process and minimise the potential impact on their clients.
“Assessments of existing ‘self-funders’ will continue over the next few months, with any time spent receiving high-level care since the beginning of 2013 counting towards the new scheme.”
Anyone who wants to know more about the scheme should go to http://www.gov.je/Benefits/LongTermCare/Pages/LongTermCareBenefits.aspx and anyone who wants to contact the team running it to arrange an assessment should call 444440.
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