The UK government's plans to reform social care funding have left millions of people confused about how the changes will impact them, research by retirement specialist Just Group has found.
After surveying 2,000 adults, the researchers found that two in five did not understand the proposed reforms to social care policy, which is equivalent to around 22 million people.
The government announced last year that it plans to introduce a cap of £86,000 to care costs in England from October 2023, and that all people with assets worth less than £20,000 will then have their care fully covered by the state.
However, two-thirds of respondents to the new survey were unable to correctly identify the limit of the proposed care cap, with just a third successfully managing to do so.
Furthermore, four in five did not know that they may have to pay more than £86,000 overall once daily living costs and excess fees above the local authority rate are included.
Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said that the findings were proof of the hard work needed from the government to communicate more detail on the proposals.
“Now that the fundamentals of the planned reforms have been announced and publicised it is worrying that the details released so far have left the vast majority of people with completely the wrong end of the stick,” he continued.
“The sooner the government makes crystal clear to people the financial responsibilities they will still bear, the sooner people can start planning. Confusion is rife and the government has a duty to address this.”
The survey also found evidence that a significant minority of people feel that the social care reforms mean that forward planning was not needed any more.
A fifth of respondents agreed that they no longer had to make financial plans for the possibility they needed care, with the majority unsure.
Less than four in 10 said that they would actively put financial plans in place for the possibility they need care in later life.
“The government needs to ramp up its publicity and information campaigns so people have the best chance to plan,” Lowe said. “Simply announcing plans and waltzing off to leave people to work it out for themselves is no help to anyone.”
Image credit: iStock
Author: Chris Seekings