Government unveils pay after death care plan

Pensioners moving into residential care will be given state loans so they do not have to sell their property immediately, under new plans.

People will be able to borrow money from councils at nominal interest rates, with the sum being paid back after their death.

The scheme, being introduced across England in April 2015, is intended to help around 40,000 people each year who are forced to sell their homes to cover care costs. Some local authorities already operate similar arrangements, but provision varies widely across the country.

The announcement is part of a raft of proposals being published by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley. It emerged over the weekend that cross-party talks on reform of social care for the elderly had broken down after ministers made clear funding decisions would not be taken until next year's spending review.
%VIRTUAL-ArticleSidebar%

Labour has insisted the coalition's pledges are "meaningless" without concrete plans for meeting the estimated £1.7 billion cost. But Mr Lansley is to press ahead with the release of a white paper and draft bill on social care, as well as a report detailing progress towards solutions on key issues.

Ministers want to cap the amount anyone pays towards care during their lifetime at £35,000.

Mr Lansley said: "It is hard enough for people to come to terms with needing to pay for extra help when their circumstances change - whether their health has suddenly deteriorated or age has started to take its toll. The last thing people want to think about is having to immediately sell their home to pay for residential care.

"That is why, from April 2015, we will ensure that people will be able to delay selling their home to pay for residential care. This will give people greater flexibility and peace of mind at what can be a very traumatic time."

The "universal deferred payment" scheme for care homes was first proposed by a Royal Commission more than a decade ago. Since then, councils have been able to offer interest-free loans to people who face having to sell their home to pay for care. But the new scheme will order councils to provide the loans.

The social care proposals are also expected to include initiatives to help carers and give people far more control over their own care. The Government is keen for more pensioners to be looked after in their own homes, rather than go into nursing homes.

10 PHOTOS
10 of the biggest consumer rip-offs
See Gallery
Government unveils pay after death care plan

Using a mobile phone to make and receive calls, send texts and browse the web while abroad can be extremely costly – especially if you are travelling outside the European Union (EU), where calls can cost up to 10 times as much as at home.

To avoid high charges, Carphone Warehouse suggests tourists ensure a data cap is in place, use applications to check data usage, turn off 'data roaming', avoid data-intensive applications such as Google Maps and YouTube and use wi-fi spots to update social networking sites.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) is supposed to help people to continue meeting their loan, mortgage or credit card repayments if they fall ill or lose their jobs. However, policies are often over-priced, riddled with exclusions and sold to people who could not make a claim if they needed to.

At one point, sale of this cover - which was often included automatically in loan repayments - was estimated to boost the banks' profits by up to £5 billion a year.
Now, though, consumers who were mis-sold PPI can fight back by complaining to the bank or lender concerned and taking their case to the Financial Ombudsman Service (08000 234567) should the response prove unsatisfactory.

It could be you, but let's face it, it probably won't be. In fact, buying a ticket for the Lotto only gives you a 1 in 13.9 million chance of winning the jackpot.

With odds like that, you would almost certainly be better off hanging on to your cash and saving it in a high-interest account.

No-frills airlines such as EasyJet may promote rock-bottom prices on their websites. But the overall fare you pay can be surprisingly high once extras such as luggage and credit card payment fees have been added - a process known as drip pricing.

Taking one piece of hold baggage on a return EasyJet flight, for example, adds close to £20 to the cost of your flight, while paying by credit card increases the price by a further £10.
It may therefore be worth comparing the total cost with that of a flight with a standard airline such as British Airways.

Cash advances, which include cash withdrawals, are generally charged at a much higher rate of interest than standard purchases.

While the average credit card interest rate is around 17%, a typical cash withdrawal of £500, for example, is charged at more than 26%.
What's more, as the interest accrues from the date of the transaction, rather than the next payment date, costs will mount up even if you clear your balance in full with your next payment.

Supermarkets such as Tesco and Asda often run promotions under which you can, for example, get three products for the price of two.

However, it is only worth taking advantage of these deals if you will actually use the products. Otherwise, you are simply buying for the sake of it, which is a waste of your hard-earned cash.
To avoid paying over the odds, it is also worth checking the price per kilo to ensure that larger 'economy' packs really are cheaper than the smaller versions.

Buy a train ticket at the station on the day of travel and the price is likely to give you a shock - especially if you are travelling a long distance at a busy time of day.

However, you can cut the cost of train travel by 50% or more by going online and making the purchase beforehand - especially if you book 12 weeks in advance, which is when the cheapest tickets are on sale.
Other ways to reduce the price you pay include avoiding peak times and taking advantage of so-called carnet tickets, which allow you to buy, for example, 12 journeys for the price of 10.

Most High Street banks offer packaged accounts that come with monthly fees ranging from £6.50 up to as much as £40, with a typical account charging about £15 per month.

Various benefits, such as travel insurance and mobile phone insurance, are offered in return for this fee. But whether or not it is worth paying for them depends on your individual circumstances.
Before signing up, it is therefore essential to check that you will make use of enough of the benefits, and that you cannot get them for less elsewhere.

Overseas money transfers or travel money purchases attract the same high rate of interest as credit card cash withdrawals.

Worse still, most credit cards – and debit cards – also charge you a foreign loading fee if you use them to make purchases while abroad.
You can, however, avoid these charges by using a Saga Platinum or Nationwide Building Society credit card.

Numbers starting 0871 cost 10p or more from a landline, while those starting 09 can cost more than £1 a minute from a mobile phone.

And the operators of these high-cost phone lines, some of which are banks, often get a cut of the call charges.
Most 09 numbers are linked to scams and should therefore be avoided at all costs, while 0871 numbers can often be bypassed by searching for an alternative local rate numbers on the saynoto0870.com.
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE


More stories
Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS