Equity release specialist Key asked 205 local councils what proportion of those who needed long term care paid in full and what proportion received financial assistance.
The data suggested that there could be as much as a 10% year on year drop in the number of people receiving some form of financial support for care between 2018/17 and 2019/20.
Consumer research carried out for the report found that over a third (35%) of over-55s were more worried than before about how to meet the cost of care in the future. This was a significant rise compared to 12 months ago when it was 21%.
The report showed that just one in five (20%) of over-55s have made financial provision to pay for care. Just 6% estimated they have enough to fund their own care, half what it was a year ago (13%).
Around a third (29%) of over-55s plan to use their homes to help them pay for care in the future, compared to 19% in 2019. A similar number (34%) plan to use their savings and investments, compared with 44% in 2019. Three in ten (30%) plan to use their pension income to fund care, down from 40% in 2019.
A quarter did not know how they would meet their care costs or feared they would not be able to meet the costs.
One in 12 (8%) said they would have to sell valuables they have to fund their care, up from 5% in 2019.
Will Hale, CEO at Key, said: “We know that councils are working hard to support local residents who need care but are facing tough financial challenges and may need to make difficult choices.
”At the same time as councils are under pressure, over-55s are waking up to the reality that they may well need to pay for all or some of their care in later life. This has created the perfect storm and it is vital that the government focuses on setting out clear plans for reaching a cross-party consensus on social care, and consider long-term reform and funding of the care system."
Across the country, the amount funding by local councils varies. Local authorities in London are the most likely to say they provide full funding, with 52% of applicants fully funded, while in Scotland and the North West, 13% and 20% respectively are fully funded. In some areas the percentage who are fully funded increased, such as in the North East where the percentage increased from 13% to 21% and Wales where it rose from 16% to 29%.
The consumer research was conducted by Opinion Matters among 1,011 UK adults aged 55+ between 9 and 13 March 2020.