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The Care Act 2014 and how it will affect you

The first overhaul of social care statute in England for 60 years will come into force next month by way of the Care Act 2014. The changes will be introduced over two years with the first part coming into affect this April.

Local Authorities have new duties to support people to maintain their independence and prevent their needs developing. This is in line with a new “wellbeing” principle that underpins the Act. This includes a requirement on Local Authorities to set up information and advice services that can provide up-to-date information on all matters relating to care issues including the financial aspects of care.

How do these changes affect you?

You may not notice an immediate difference!  The main changes that come into affect in April are:

  •  The Local Authority has a duty to assess both the cared for and the carer under new eligibility criteria.  However, the threshold for receiving services from the Local Authority remains “substantial”.  For the first time, carers will be able to request an assessment of their support needs before they commence their caring role.
  • From April 2015, self-funders will be able to request support from the Local Authority to arrange their care although Local Authorities have a discretion not to provide this service in relation to care home provision.  The Local Authority can charge for the costs of providing this service.
  • There are also changes to deferred payment arrangements.  A deferred payment arrangement is where an individual delays paying their care home fees through a formal agreement with the Local Authority.  The Local Authority lodge a charge against the individual’s property to recover the costs of the care home when the property is sold.  Changes introduced under the Care Act in April 2015 include the requirement that interest is payable from the start of the deferred payment agreement.  The regulations introduced under the Care Act also provide guidance on eligibility and managing the direct payment scheme.

The Care Cap doesn’t come into affect until April 2016 but essentially the Government has planned a cap of £72,000 on the amount you will need to pay for care – however, these care needs need to be classed as "substantial" by the Local Authority and they will decide the appropriate costs to meet those needs which will count towards the cap.  This means that if you need more than £72,000 worth of care during your lifetime, after you reach the £72,000, the care costs could be met by the Local Authority.  The Government is still consulting on how the cap will work in practice and we will be updating our website with further information nearer that time.

If you have any query relating to the new changes or relating to the funding of care, please call our dedicated care team on 01926 491181 for free initial advice.

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