Social protection for the costs of long‐term care (LTC) varies widely between countries, and to date there has been no systematic comparison of the experiences of people with LTC needs in different countries. In response to this information gap, the OECD and the European Commission (EC) have established a project to make quantitative comparisons of social protection for LTC in OECD and EU countries, using the typical cases approach. Social protection encompasses both cash benefits, conditional on long‐term care needs, and long‐term care services offered at no or subsidized cost to the user. A data collection questionnaire has been distributed. This report describes how the data for Belgium have been collected. The following schemes are taken into account: the allowance for the assistance of the elderly; the allowances for incontinence and for the chronically ill; the Flemish care insurance; the sickness and invalidity insurance for home nursing care and care in institutions; home care (not nursing care), regulated and subsidized by regional governments; and service vouchers. The data refer to the year 2015.
The results show that, firstly, the costs of care met directly by the government (through the social health insurance system, subsidies to home care providers and subsidies and tax allowances for service vouchers) far outweigh the cash benefits that are conditional on dependency paid by the federal and regional governments. Secondly, in all cases of home care most of the total costs are borne by the various public systems, from 72% for the “low need ‐ high income” case to 100% for the “high need ‐ low income” case. Generally, the coverage rate increases with severity of need and decreases with income. Thirdly, for older people with severe needs the costs of residential care are mostly affordable, thanks to the allowance for the assistance of the elderly, and (if eligible) the Flemish care insurance. Older persons with moderate or low needs for long‐term care and a low pension could experience problems to pay for residential care.