Additional services: the Federal Council wants to promote sheltered housing

Additional services: the Federal Council wants to promote sheltered housing
Additional services: the Federal Council wants to promote sheltered housing

Assistance benefits are designed as a package paid in advance, and beneficiaries of PC to AI will also be able to claim them.

The Federal Council wishes to better support the autonomy of elderly people and encourage them to remain at home. This is why supplementary benefits (PC) should in future cover certain assistance services enabling the people concerned to continue living in their own home. During its meeting on May 8, 2024, the Federal Council took note of the results of the consultation devoted to the amendment of the Federal Law on Supplementary Benefits (LPC). He instructed the Federal Department of the Interior (FDI) to prepare a message for Parliament by the autumn. Assistance benefits are designed as a package paid in advance, and beneficiaries of PC to AI will also be able to claim them.

Around a third of people who live in a medico-social establishment (EMS) require less than one hour of care per day. Their entry into EMS could be delayed, or even avoided, if they had the opportunity to live in housing adapted to their needs or to benefit from home assistance services. Older people aspire to live independently in their own home for as long as possible. For this, they need not only medical support, but also help with housekeeping, meal services or a safe environment (fall prevention).

Marked interest, but also numerous criticisms

The project dedicated to taking protected housing into account in PCs aroused keen interest during the consultation, but also strong resistance. The cantons are opposed to the idea that funding falls exclusively to them. A large majority of participants in the consultation also ask that beneficiaries of AI PC can also be entitled to these new benefits.

A clear majority also deplores the fact that PC beneficiaries must first finance certain assistance services before obtaining reimbursement. Other criticisms relate to the supplement for renting accommodation adapted to the needs of elderly people as well as the need to better take into account psychosocial aspects such as support in the organization of daily life.

Fundamentals for the message

Based on the results of the consultation, the Federal Council decided to open the right to benefits for protected housing not only to beneficiaries of PC under the AVS, but also to beneficiaries of PC to AI. The principle of equal treatment between beneficiaries of old-age pensions and disability pensions will thus be respected. However, the services covered by the PCs will only come into play once the range of AI services has been exhausted.

Benefits for sheltered housing must be paid in advance in the form of a lump sum. This solution is advantageous for policyholders, who will not have to finance the services before obtaining reimbursement. It also avoids administrative complications. These services include, depending on the needs:

  • a supplement for renting accommodation suitable for the elderly;
  • reimbursement of costs related to adaptation of housing;
  • an emergency call system;
  • household help;
  • a meal service;
  • a transport and support service.

These benefits will benefit policyholders who, due to their age or poor health, need targeted support to be able to continue living in their own home. This is why the Federal Council maintains that they are covered by illness and disability costs in the PC system and must therefore be entirely covered by the cantons. This also corresponds to the distribution of powers defined in 2008 by the reform of financial equalization and the distribution of tasks between the Confederation and the cantons. The savings that the project will make by delaying or avoiding EMS entries will therefore only benefit the cantons. Finally, the Federal Council takes into account, with this decision, the tense financial situation in which the Confederation finds itself.

Additional costs for the cantons are estimated between 300 and 620 million francs, for savings of 280 million. These savings come from the fact that the assistance services concerned will make it possible to delay or avoid admissions to EMS.

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