Care Act

The government is transforming the health and social care system provided to those that need support by the council. The Care Act became law on May 14, 2014, and makes changes to the way that the social care system in England will work in the future. These changes will affect anyone who has care needs.

The biggest change will be the introduction in April 2016 of a care cap of £72,000 on the amount people pay towards their own care in their lifetime. This does not include daily living costs and other ‘top-ups’ people may need to pay towards their care.

Here are the top things we think you need to know about the Care Act:

From April 2015:

  • You have a legal right to a care needs assessment - regardless of your financial situation.
  • Councils must follow a new national eligibility criteria to decide whether or not someone should get support from them.
  • You have a legal right to know how much money is needed to meet your care needs (your personal budget) if you qualify for council support.
  • If you qualify for council support, the council must provide advocacy support if you have difficulty speaking up for yourself.
  • If you are funding your own care, the council must arrange your services if you want them to.
  • You can defer the payment of care home fees, so your home does not need to be sold until after your death to cover the costs of care.
  • If you care for a friend or family, you have a legal right to an assessment of your needs as a carer, and to get support services if you qualify.
  • The council have a duty to provide services that help prevent or delay the development of care and support needs, or reduce care and support needs.

From April 2016:

  • New thresholds will be in place for charging people who get support from the council.
  • There will be a ‘cap’ on how much you need to pay towards your own care in your lifetime.
  • When your care needs reach a level where you would qualify for support from the council, the amount of money required to meet those needs should be tallied up in a ‘care account’, until it reaches the cap amount.
  • The rules will change about who can pay ‘top-up’ fees if you move into a care home which is more expensive than the council’s standard rate.
  • You will have a new right to appeal decisions taken by the council about your care or funding arrangements.