The charity claims its research shows that local authorities in most regions are not paying the market rate for care home places forcing older people and their families to plug a funding gap of£500m per year.
As a result it sats, basic care is available in some residential care homes only if families pay a ‘top up’ to their council’s contribution.
Other homes drop their prices for local authority-funded clients but claw the money back by charging a higher fee to older people who are ineligible for state help.
Age Concern is asking for at least an extra£1bnn to be allocated in the Pre-Budget report to pay for good quality care home places and also to reverse recent cuts in home care services provided by local authorities.
Gordon Lishman Director General of Age Concern England said: “It is utterly unacceptable that vulnerable older people whose care is supposed to be funded are being caught short when they try to find a decent care home that meets their needs.
Age Concern says nearly 40% of people in care homes are paying their own way because they fail the means test for local authority help.
Those who only have a little more than the cut-off point of£22250 for local authority help in England will have their assets depleted rapidly by the cost of care home fees which average nearly£24000 per year.