Cash Convergence: Enabling choice and independence through disability benefits and social care

Cash Convergence

What is the best way for society to support older people with care and support needs?

In debate on how to fund older people’s care in recent years, particular attention has been given to whether disability benefits for older people – principally Attendance Allowance – would be better spent if this expenditure was transferred to the social care system.

However, in the background to this debate, something else has happened: a revolution in thinking about what social care should achieve for individuals – independence, wellbeing, choice and control – and the best way for public policy to achieve this: Direct (cash) Payments.

As a result, public policy across both social care and disability benefits emphasises a belief that giving individuals control over resources is the best way to enable them to live the life that they want to lead, characterised by independence, well-being, choice and control.

In the wake of this ‘cash convergence’, the key question for policymakers is how can two separate systems of cash-based support help older people with cognitive and physical impairments achieve these outcomes?

This report develops 10 ideas for making the two systems work better together such as signposting, data-sharing, joint assessments, and distributing some social care resources via the Attendance Allowance system.

Ultimately, the picture is one of opportunity. The assets of both systems, despite a different underlying ethos, can be integrated and coordinated to improve the outcomes of older people with cognitive and physical impairments.

This report has been published as part of the Care Funding Futures work programme run by the Strategic Society Centre. The Care Funding Futures work programme has been made possible by the support of Bupa, PwC, Age UK and Tunstall.

Author: James Lloyd, Strategic Society Centre

Download the report: Cash Convergence – Enabling choice and independence through disability benefits

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