Elderly people who need help with basic daily tasks are suffering because the care system is "creaking at the seams", new research claims.
Council leaders have called for better funding to the care of disabled and elderly people, as nearly three-quarters of local authorities have stopped providing lower-level care.
This includes elderly people who need help with washing and eating.
The Local Government Association, which represents more than 400 councils in England and Wales, is campaigning for more money for care and a simpler system.
Members fear that vulnerable people will fail to understand the myriad of benefits available and how to apply, and could miss out as a result.
LGA spokesman on social care David Rogers said: "Town halls have found their hands tied because increased demand has placed a huge strain on council budgets.
"This has left councils with little option but to withdraw services for many who need help with activities such as washing, eating and getting the shopping in.
"The new figures for eligibility criteria [which determine the number of people eligible for support] paint a stark picture of an underfunded and inflexible system that is beginning to creak at the seams."