Elderly may have to pay for carers to visit their homes

Homeowners in their later years may have to find cash from equity release to pay for carers to visit them in their own property.

As part of new care rules, owners may be expected to pay for carers in their homes for the first time.

Currently, pensioners pay for long-term care if they move to a residential home and have assets of more than £23,750.

Under the new charges, health secretary Andrew Lansley proposes everyone should pay for care, wherever they live.

The change is part of a draft for a new white paper due to be published in April.

Under the recent Dilnot Report, which won wide support from consumer groups and politicians, the suggestion was those receiving long term care should be means-tested and should pay up to £35,000 for their care.

This could mean homeowners would have to release equity to pay for care costing up to £35,000.

Many homeowners feel this is unfair because social housing tenants and those without enough equity to raise the cash would still receive support from the government.

The government is concerned that the Dilnot recommendations would cost at least £1.7 billion to implement and that the proposed scheme is too generous in times of rising costs.

The health secretary is lobbying for cross-party support for the white paper by discussing his proposals with Labour.

Equity release lets homeowners in their later years draw cash from the value of their home to fund living costs and expenses.

Homeowners can either take a lump-sum or draw down against an agreed sum of money.

The loan and any interest due is clawed back from the value of the home when sold – which is either when the owner dies or moves in to long-term care.