HL Deb 16 April 2002 vol 633 cc153-4WA
Baroness Greengross

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will provide a summary of the differing levels and types of state support available to older people in residential or nursing care in the United Kingdom since October 2001. [HL3453]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham

On 1 October 2001 the Government delivered on their commitment set out in the NHS Plan to bring in free nursing care for people paying all of their nursing home fees themselves. This is to meet the costs of registered nurse time spent on providing, delegating or supervising care in all settings. Residents receive a contribution of £35, £70 or £110 per week, depending on their level of need.

The department provides support through the benefit system to older people in residential care and nursing homes in a number of ways. Benefit rates are set out in the table below:

Benefit rates and amounts from 8 April 2002 For customers over 60 who currently receive income support, including a residential allowance, their benefit from 8 April will be:
IS personal allowance £53.95
IS pensioner premium £44.20
*IS residential allowance (outside London) £64.40
TOTAL £162.55
*The residential allowance for people living in Greater London is £71.65
Customers living in local authority residential accommodation (Part 3) and currently receiving income support: £75.50
People living in residential care and nursing homes:
IS personal allowance £5.3.95
IS pensioner premium £44.20
TOTAL £98.15

From 8 April 2002 the preserved rights rates of income support were abolished and local authorities became responsible for arranging and funding care for those customers. The residential allowance and Part 3 rates of income support also ceased to be paid for all new claims from 8 April. This arrangement will provide a fairer system of funding for long-term care and will concentrate resources at the point where decisions are made on the appropriate care for individuals. This will ensure more effective and flexible support to the vulnerable people in our society.

In addition, severely disabled people living in residential care and nursing homes may be entitled to attendance allowance or disability living allowance, where the resident meets the whole cost of their place in the home entirely from their own resources, and without recourse to help with that cost from public funds.

Retirement pension, and other benefits (such as incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance) which the customer is entitled to are also payable. However, these are taken into account as income when assessing a claim for income support.