Hundreds of thousands of older people in England who need social care are not getting any support from the state or private sector, campaigners say.
Age UK says 800,000 people are excluded from the system - and the figure is set to top one million within four years.
It said budgets had hardly risen in recent years even before the squeeze, despite the ageing population.
The charity renewed its call for an overhaul of the system, something ministers are looking at.
Social care in England is means-tested, which means those with savings of over £23,250 are excluded.
But councils have also been making it more difficult for those who do meet the income threshold to get care, by tightening the eligibility criteria.
Six years ago, half of councils provided support to people with moderate needs, but that figure has now dropped to 18%.