Elderly May Face £12,000 Levy To Pay For Social Care

(Daily Mail) – THE ELDERLY COULD BE ASKED TO PAY an ‘inheritance levy’ of up to £12,000 to help fund a revolution in old age care.

Proposals will be unveiled within weeks in an attempt to end the scandal of an estimated 60,000-plus pensioners a year being forced to sell properties to pay for care home places.

Senior ministers favour the idea of a one-off fee that would either be paid on retirement or deducted from the estates of the elderly when they die.

Critics will seize on the proposal as another Labour stealth tax. But Downing Street believes most people would rather take part in the optional scheme than face the prospect of having to sell their homes.

Under the current system, anyone with savings above £22,250 pays for long-term care. Nursing home bills for the poorest are met by the taxpayer.

But a green paper to be published at the end of this month will set out a range of options for reform, Whitehall sources say.

One possibility is a social insurance scheme, which would see all workers pay a National Insurance top-up throughout their lives. However, it would take many years to build up a sufficient fund to meet the cost of care and, in the meantime, the Government would have to stump up the cash.

Another option is a ‘care duty’ which would see an extra 2.5 per cent taken in inheritance tax from estates worth £25,000 or more. The cash would go into a Government subsidised care fund. However, ministers are thought to favour the ‘inheritance levy’ idea as an eye-catching proposal for next year’s General Election.

It is thought that, in exchange for a £12,000 payment — either made at the point of retirement or deducted from an estate upon death — free care would be offered.

At this stage, it is not clear how many years of care people would be entitled to.

… (14/07/2009) – MPs Now Talking Of £20K Elderly Care

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