From April 2015, care and support in England is changing for the better. The Care Act will help make access to care and support more consistent across the country.
'Care and support’ is the term used to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, mealtimes, eating, seeing friends, caring for families and being part of the community.
It might also include emotional support at a time of difficulty and stress and helping people who are caring for an adult family member or friend.
Care and support includes the help given by family and friends, as well as any provided by the council or other organisations.
Many of us will need care and support at some point in our lives and most people will pay at least something towards the cost of their care. The new national changes are designed to help you plan for the future and put you more in control of the help you receive. Any decisions about your care and support will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family, so you can stay healthy and remain independent for longer.
You could benefit from the changes if you:
- receive care and support
- support someone as a carer
- are planning for future care and support.
From April 2015, there will be:
- new national level of care and support needs that all councils will consider when they assess what help they can give people
- new support for carers
- deferred payment agreements for care home costs
- a focus on prevention and wellbeing rather meeting needs at point of crisis
- a legal framework that places adult safeguarding on a statutory footing
- improved access to information and advice and independent advocacy and signposting for independent financial advice.
More changes to the way people pay for care and support will be introduced in 2016. These will protect people with the highest needs from facing unlimited costs, and provide more financial support to people with modest means.
- a lifetime cap on care costs
- extended financial support based on revised thresholds following an assessment.
Support for carers
In England, millions of people provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in their own home or somewhere else.
‘Caring’ for someone covers lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.
If this sounds like you, from April 2015, you may be able to get more help so that you can carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing.
Needs and eligibility
From April 2015, the way care and support needs are assessed in England is changing for the better, meaning that decisions made about the help you receive will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family.
For the first time, there will be a national level of care and support needs that all councils will consider when we assess what help we can give to you. Following an assessment this may result in you being eligible for care and support, and will make it easier for you to plan for the future.
Whatever your level of need, we will be able to put you in touch with the right organisation to support your wellbeing and help you remain independent for longer.
Deferred payment agreements
From April 2015 deferred payment agreements will be available across England. This means that people should not have to sell their homes to pay for care when they go into a care home, as they have sometimes had to do in the past.
A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council that will enable some people to use the value of their homes to pay for their care. If you are eligible, we will help to pay the care home bills on your behalf. You can delay repaying us until you choose to sell your home, or until after your death.
Cap on care costs
At the moment there is no limit to what care and support can cost, and this means that people with very high care needs may have to pay expensive bills. But care and support is changing for the better, and from April 2016 there will be a new form of protection from unlimited costs. This protection is called the ‘cap on care costs.’
What is the cap on care costs?
It means that no one will have to pay more than £72,000 towards the care element of the costs of meeting their eligible needs in their lifetime, and many people will pay much less. This applies to people funding their own care and support, as well as those helped by the council.
Alongside the cap on care costs, extended financial support will ensure that more people are eligible for help with care and support costs. The council will assess your finances and we may be able to offer extra help if you cannot afford to pay. Most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.
As part of the 2016 changes, we will provide more financial help for those who need it and people with modest means will benefit too. Currently, only people with less than £23,250 in assets and low incomes can get help with their care and support costs.
The changes will mean that people with £118,000 worth of assets or less, could be eligible to receive financial support if they need to move to a care home. The amount they receive will depend on an assessment of their finances and personal circumstances. We will look at what assets and income a person has and decide how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of their care and support.