• Industry: Healthcare
  • Type: Survey report
  • Date: 5/21/2013

United Kingdom 

An overview of long term systems for the elderly and future direction.

Current long term care system for elderly

In the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) pays for some long term care cases requiring continued medical or skilled nursing needs. However, most long term care is covered under adult social care, which offers means-tested coverage. According to the national eligibility criteria, separate government funding is also available to people with disabilities.

Program and nature of coverage

Adult social care: a means-tested safety net. Disability living allowance: universal benefit coverage for disabled non-elderly (under 65) Attendance allowance: universal benefit coverage for elderly dependents.

Nature of benefit coverage

Adult social care: home and institutional care, cash benefits. State-funded residential care is available free to those with less than UK£23,000 (US$37,000) in assets.1

Disability living allowance: universal benefit coverage for disabled non-elderly (under 65)

Source of funding

Adult social care: through taxes at central and local levels.2 Disability living allowance: tax-based Attendance allowance: tax-based (both based on assessments).

Reforms initiated/ future direction

In 2011, the Commission on Funding of Care and Support recommended an increase in the assets threshold for state-funded residential care, from UK£23,250 (US$ 37,301.4) to UK£100,000 (US$160,436.0). The commission also proposed a cap of UK£35,000 (US$56,152.6) on payments for lifetime care.3,4,5

The adult social care system in the UK is undergoing reform in the way it is funded, designed and delivered. The UK government is keen to drive reforms to tackle problems with adult social care. In May 2012, a draft bill for overhauling care and support for elderly and disabled people in England was announced in the Queen’s Speech.6

1International Profiles of Health Care Systems (PDF 1.24 MB), 2011, The Commonwealth Fund
Accessed 15 June 2012.


3 Highlights from Help Wanted? Providing and Paying for Long-Term Care (PDF 221 KB ), OECD Publishing, 2011
Accessed 16 June 2012.

4Elderly care: politicians urged to ‘pull their heads out of the sand’, The Telegraph, April 17, 2012
Accessed 21 April 2012.

5Average conversion rate for 2011, GBP1 = US$1.60436
Accessed 9 May 2012.

6Queen’s speech 2012: Draft bill on social care announced, BBC News, May 2012
Accessed 17 July 2012.


Share this

Share this

Download An uncertain age

Download full report
  • Subscribe to related feeds