Care Act 2014
Changes designed to address the provision of care and support in the 21st Century.
On the 1st April 1015 new provisions come into force which are aimed a ensuring that adult care services are consistent throughout England.
Briefly, the main changes are :
• A national level of care and support across all local councils
• Provisions to ensure that councils work together to ensure that there is no gap in care when someone moves home from one council to another
• Additional help for carers
• Deferred payment agreements throughout England, meaning that someone requiring care does not have to sell their home during their lifetime.
• A cap on costs, designed to offer protection against unlimited care costs.
As people are living longer and with a better quality of life, care and support needs have clearly changed in society. The Act aims to address those new requirements both now and in the future. Within the Act, care and support is a term used where adults need assistance, through illness or disability, with things such as washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking and being part of a community, amongst other things. The new provisions include care provided by family and friends.
These national changes are designed to put people in control of the services they receive, with decisions being based on a person’s wellbeing “ and what is important to them and their family”. The aim is to try and ensure that the person requiring care remains healthy and independent for as long as possible.
Some of the changes, such as a new national level of care and support, new support for carers and deferred payments will come into force in April 2015, with additional financial assistance and fee caps, coming into force in 2016.
So who are affected by the changes? Well this includes anyone:
• who receives care and support from a local council, organisation, whether at home or in a care home
• who gives unpaid care and support to a family member or friend
• who may need help in the future
What do these changes actually involve? The bedrock of the Act is to ensure that more people will get the care they need either from their council or an organisation, such as the NHS or NHS continuing Healthcare and have a say in their care needs. A new style of “needs assessment” will ensure a more consistent approach by local councils and organisations, with the aim to eradicate any sort of “postcode lottery”. Factors influencing the assessment are driven by the wellbeing of the individual. Everyone has individual needs and care provisions need to reflect that.
A significant change within the Act, is that a person with assets, requiring need and support, will be permitted to apply to defer paying the costs of care and support until after their death. For so many people, the worry of having to sell their family home to fund care costs can be overwhelming. The Act will allow someone who is receiving care, and who owns their own home, with additional savings of over £23,250, to apply for deferment. It’s anticipated that a person can defer up to 80 – 90% of the value of their home. In essence, if the application is successful, it means that the cost of care can be taken out of a person’s estate on death rather than in their lifetime. This significant change means that an elderly or disable person, requiring carer or support can remain in the security of their own home.
Significantly, the Act aims to benefit those who provide support to family and friends. Carers will be able to ask their local council to make a “careers assessment”. Those eligible will be able to apply for direct payment to spend on things that make caring easier or practical support. A carer will be able to apply for support even where the person getting care doesn’t qualify for financial benefit. The changes are designed to focus on the physical and mental wellbeing of the carer – something that has long been overlooked.
Currently, there is no cap on the cost of care. This often means that a persons assets are quickly eroded, when care is required. From 2016, the maximum a person will pay for care costs will be £72,000. In many cases, this will be less. In addition to the cap, the Act aims to ensure that more people become eligible for care and support financial assistance.
Further information of the changes can be found on: https://www.gov.uk/careandsupport?gclid=CPnqu7XY3MMCFcvJtAodxQkAqA
A series of fact sheets can be found on:
Support and further guidance can be obtain from age UK and other organisations on: