Jersey plans 'universal' benefit for long-term care

A new scheme to fund the growing cost of long-term care for older people could be introduced in Jersey.

Social Security Minister Deputy Ian Gorst has revealed details of plans to introduce a new "universal" benefit.

The current system was complicated, unfair and left people facing "large costs", he said.

The minister said he would soon release a White Paper detailing a compulsory contribution scheme that would cover most care fees in later life.

There are currently about 1,000 older people in residential care in Jersey, which costs between £500 and £1,400 per week.

Each year taxpayers contribute about £30m towards long-term care, with individuals paying a further £25m.

Universal benefit

The majority of the public funding is used to help cover the bill for those who cannot afford to meet all of their own care costs.

The £55m spent on care annually is expected to reach £155m by 2036.

Deputy Gorst told BBC Jersey: "I will be proposing a universal benefit where we all contribute throughout our lives and it goes into a pot for a long-term care benefit.

"Then if we need that help at the end of our lives, either to stay in our own home, to go into residential care, or to go into nursing care, then the vast majority of the cost of that care will be funded by the scheme."

He said the scheme would also mean "by and large" people would not need to sell their homes to fund their care.

"The system that I'm proposing will mean that people can have faith that if they do save throughout their working life, if they do build up capital, if they are able to by a house, that that won't be taken away from them at the end of their life."

He said his proposals also included "a small amount of means-testing", which he would consult islanders on.

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