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What do social care reform plans mean for people with MS? 

Today, the Prime Minister outlined plans to reform the social care system in England, and further investment in the health system.

Health and care services will get an extra £12 billion a year for investment in frontline care over the next three years. The new funding will help fund an extra 9 million checks and scans.

To pay for this, a new UK wide 1.25% ‘health and social care levy’ will come in from April 2022, based on national insurance contributions. It will be paid by working adults, including people over the state pension age who are still working.

Money will be directed through the levy to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (who will benefit from an extra £2.2 billion this year).

Steps to reform the social care system

The Prime Minister also outlined steps to reform the social care system.

From October 2023 anyone with assets worth less than £20,000 will have their care costs fully covered by the government.

Anyone with assets (like savings) between £20,000 and £100,000 will be expected to contribute to the cost of care, but will also be eligible for state support covering some of the costs.

Anyone with assets greater than £100,000 will be expected to cover costs themselves.

Find out more about assets on the Staffordshire County website

There will be a cap on costs meaning that nobody will have to pay more than £86,000 in their lifetime.

What does this mean for people with MS?

Protection from extremely high care costs, and expanded financial support for people with fewer assets, will help make sure people with MS don’t face mounting care costs through their lifetime.

We also know that too often, the debate on social care focuses only on the needs of older people. Over a quarter of a million working-age disabled adults rely on long-term social care support, and are more likely to rely on the publicly funded social care system than older people. They might also be paying for care while supporting a young family.

We’d like to see more detail on how the funding will tackle big issues around the quality of care, lack of staff in the social care workforce and support for unpaid carers. We will keep working with our MS community until we get this.

What next for social care and MS?

Earlier this summer, together with six other charities representing working-age disabled adults, we met with MPs to highlight what our communities need from social care reform. Following this, MPs wrote to the Health and Social Care Secretary to share the experiences of working-age disabled adults and their concerns. As more details of social care reforms are worked out, we’ll keep the pressure on to make sure our communities are heard.

We work closely with the Care and Support Alliance (CSA), made up of over 70 charities. The CSA campaigns alongside millions of disabled people, older people and their carers who deserve decent care. We’ll continue keep working with the CSA, to engage with the government on this announcement.

Government plan overlooks people with unmet needs

Phillip Anderson, our Head of Policy, says: “Successive governments have taken decades to come up with a plan for social care. As the wait has dragged on millions of people, including many with MS, have been forced to go without the vital care and support they need. Sadly, today’s announcement has not been worth the wait.

“Protection from catastrophic care costs and expanded financial support for people with fewer assets are both meaningful and welcome improvements.

“However, fundamentally this plan focusses on people currently in the care system. It overlooks at least 1.6 million people with unmet care needs, including one in three people affected by MS.

“It is also very difficult to see how this funding could tackle huge issues like quality of care, workforce, and informal carer support, without taking much-needed funds back out of the NHS.”

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