Care and support white paper: ‘Free care’ pledge for younger disabled people


Many working-age disabled people will receive free care and support for life – whatever their levels of wealth or income – when the funding of care and support is finally reformed, the government has promised.

The Department of Health (DH) confirmed today to Disability News Service that the government agreed with the principle of an “age cap”, which would see free care and support for all those who become disabled before a certain age.

The Dilnot Commission, which was set up by the coalition to recommend changes to care and support funding in England, said last summer that care should be free for all people with eligible needs who become disabled before the age of 40.

The commission said that those who become disabled after the age of 40 would be expected to make some contribution towards their lifetime care costs, with the total amount they were expected to pay rising by about £10,000 per decade.

Political and media attention this week was focused on the funding of care for older people, as the government published its long-awaited adult social care white paper.

Although ministers backed the principles laid out by Dilnot of capped care costs for older people and an extended means test, the coalition postponed any decision on how to fund those reforms until the next spending review, expected in 2013 or 2014, and there was no mention of the principle of free care for younger disabled adults.

A DH spokesman confirmed to Disability News Service today that the government did support the idea of an age cap “in principle”.

But he said that the age at which the cap might be set had not yet been decided, and could be higher – at 45, for example – or lower.

12 July 2012