The Care Act
England’s care and support system has changed - the Care Act, has been described as the most significant reform in social care for over 60 years, making care and support more consistent across the country and putting people and their carers in control of their care and support.The Care Act came into force on 1 April 2015 and changes will continue to be rolled out until 1 April 2020.
Anyone who receives care and support, or supports someone as a carer, could benefit from the changes. Any decisions about care and support will take into consideration people’s mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, with a focus on supporting people to stay healthy and remain independent for longer.
You can view an easy read document of the care act here - Easy Read Care Act
Frequently asked questions
- What is the Care Act?
- What is care and support?
- What is a carer?
- How will it affect me?
- Where can I find more information?
- What is the eligibility criteria?
- What is a personal budget?
- What is the cap on care costs?
- How will I benefit?
- What is excluded from the cap on care costs?
- I fund my own care and support, when can I ask for an assessment
- Can I ask for a Deferred Payment?
- Related links
What is the Care Act?
The Care Act came into force in April 2015 and will help to make care and support more consistent across the country. The new national changes are designed to put you 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.
The Act came into effect in April 2015 with further changes including the proposed cap on care costs being implemented by 2020
What is care and support?
’the help some adults need to live as independently as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking meals, 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, helping people who are caring for an adult family member or friend or even giving others a lift to a social event.
What is a carer?
- Carer: Someone (aged 18 or over) who helps another person in their day to day life, usually a relative or friend, who could not manage without that support. This is not the same as someone who provides care professionally or through a voluntary organisation
- Parent Carer: A parent, or other adult with parental responsibility, who cares for a child or young person who requires more care than other children or young people of the same age
- Young Carer: Children or young people who care for another person. This may be someone in their family who needs looking after because they have a disability or an illness. It could be a brother or sister or a parent or grandparent. Young carers should not have to do so much caring that it makes them upset, unwell or miss school.
How will it affect me?
It will affect you if you receive care and support from your council or another organisation, either at home or in a care home. Or if you give unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend. It may affect you if think you think you may need care and support in the near future, either for your or for someone you help.
Where can I find more information?
The Gov.uk website has lots of information on their Care and support and you section.
What is the eligibility criteria?
The person will have eligible needs if they meet all of the following:
- they have care and support needs as a result of a physical or mental condition;
- because of those needs, they cannot achieve two or more of the outcomes specified;
- as a result, there is a significant impact on their wellbeing.
The outcomes are specified in the regulations, and include people’s day-to-day outcomes such as dressing, maintaining personal relationships, and working or going to school. To find out more about eligibility, please see our `National Eligibility Criteria page.
What is a personal budget?
A personal budget is the money the council allocates to an individual to meet their eligible support needs. Your personal budget is based on the 'eligible needs’ Eligible needs are those which the local council's policy says it has a duty to support you with.
You will have an 'outcome based assessment' which will set out whether you are eligible for council funded support and establishes an approximate figure that the council estimates will be required to meet your eligible care and support needs. This is known as an indicative budget.
The council or a provider commissioned by the council will then work with you in order to develop a care and support plan based on your indicative budget. When this process is finished you will have a personal budget setting out the costs of meeting your care and support needs based on the support plan created.
Your personal budget can be spent:
- On your eligible needs
- In ways that maximise your health, wellbeing, safety and independence
- In a legal, reasonable and efficient manner.
If you have eligible care and support needs you may be required to contribute to the cost of your support
For more information about personal budgets visit ourpersonal budgets section.
What is the cap on care costs?
At the moment there is no limit to what care and support can cost an individual, 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 2020 there will be a new form of protection from unlimited costs. This protection is called the ‘cap on care costs.’
It means that no-one will have to pay more than £72,000 towards the costs of their eligible care and support 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 should 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. But most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.
How will I benefit?
From 2020, you will be able to have a care account with the council to keep track of how much your care and support costs. We should still be able to help you even if you are only paying part of your care and support costs, or paying everything yourself.
If you get help from the council with your care and support costs already, we will start to count how much is being spent on your care straight away. Once the cost of your care to meet your assessed eligible needs reaches £72,000, the Council will pay your care costs.
To benefit from the cap on care costs you will need to register with us so that we can begin to keep track of how you are progressing towards the cap. This will be done through an assessment and support plan.
What is excluded from the cap on care costs?
If you choose to spend more on care and support than the council would normally pay, for example moving to a more expensive care home, those extra amounts you spend will not count towards your cap on care costs.
If you live in a care home, you will also have to pay something towards the costs of food, energy bills and accommodation, just as you would if you were living in your own home. These are known as ‘daily living costs’ and an amount for this will be set nationally. There are also some types of service that are not covered by the cap on care costs, for example the cost of a cleaner or gardener that you employ privately.
I fund my own care and support, can I ask for an assessment
You can ask for an assessment of your needs at any time. However, the Care Cap will not be introduced until 2020. Your needs may change between now and when the Care Cap is introduced, so the council will not start to carry out assessments for people wanting to count the cost of their care towards the Care Cap until later in the year. You can contact the council to let us know that you would like an assessment and we will hold your details so we can get in touch later in the year to arrange this.
Can I ask for a Deferred Payment
Deferred payments, previously called Home Loans, exist to help a person pay residential care home fees, without the need to sell their own home. They cannot currently be used to pay for care costs for people currently living in their own home.
Everyone can ask to be considered for a deferred payment but there is a criteria about who can have one. A person has to have been assessed as having eligible care and support needs and have savings of less than £23,250.