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2018 Conference Presentation

Funding/purchasing United Kingdom

11 September 2018

Independent financial advice about funding social care in later life – findings from a project exploring evidence and practice in England

Kate Baxter, University of York, United Kingdom

Emily Heavey, PSPRU, University of York
Yvonne Birks, SPRU, University of York


Background: Social care in England is means-tested. Some people pay all the costs of their social care from their own income or assets. They are known as self-funders. Evidence suggests that self-funders find finances one of the most confusing aspects of seeking and arranging social care. Issues that cause confusion include the rules about paying for care, concerns about protecting assets for inheritance, and worries about how long resources will last. Despite this confusion, few people consider taking financial advice about paying for care in later life. Government legislation in 2014 recognised this gap and made it a requirement for local councils to provide information on how to access independent financial advice about paying for care and support.

Objectives: This study aimed to explore existing evidence and current practice regarding independent financial advice about funding social care in older age in England.

Methods: The study had three elements:
1. a scoping review of UK research evidence about the use of financial advice in relation to social care costs.
2. a review of English policy regarding the provision of financial advice in relation to planning for and meeting social care need.
3. semi-structured interviews with 15 recipients of financial advice, 21 people who provide or signpost to financial advice and 14 strategic level representatives from adult social care or the financial services sector.

Results and conclusion: We found very little research evidence about the use of financial advice in relation to social care costs. It covered the extent to which people access financial advice to help plan for care costs, barriers to accessing financial advice and the usefulness of financial advice. The review of policy showed some connections between policy related to personal finance/pensions and that related to social care in the build up to and following the government legislation in 2014, but very little in the previous decade. Interviews with key stakeholders showed challenges and opportunities arising at the individual level, through interactions between individuals and organisations, at local organisational level, and at strategic level. These challenges and opportunities relate to individuals’ limited planning and understanding of the financial services sector; engagement between financial, voluntary, and adult social care sectors; interpretations of rules and cross-sector awareness; and shared aims across sectors at both a local and a strategic level.
This presentation focuses on findings from the interviews.

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