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‘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.

The Care Act represents the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years, putting people and their carers in control of their care and support. For the first time, the Act will put a limit on the amount anyone will have to pay towards the costs of their care.

Your wellbeing

Many of us will need care and support at some point in our lives and most people will pay  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, either from the council or other organisations in the community. 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. There will also be more help available for people who give unpaid care and support to family members or friends.

You could benefit from the changes if you are:

  • receiving care and support
  • supporting someone as a carer
  • planning for future care and support

From April 2020, financial support will be made available to more people, and everyone will be protected from unlimited care and support costs.

The Care Act - Key points

  • A focus on preventing or delaying the need for support.
  • Carers given significant new entitlements with the aim that they are supported in their caring role.
  • Councils to provide an information and advice service, this should include how people can access independent financial advice.
  • Councils should facilitate and promote the development of a diverse market for care and support services.
  • Where people are eligible to provide them with an independent advocate.
  • A new national level of care and support needs to make care and support more consistent across the country.
  • Deferred payment agreements that will enable people to use the value of their homes to help pay care home costs.

What is the difference between care and support from the council and the care I receive at home from the NHS?

Care and support organised by the council can include help with everyday things like washing and dressing, getting in and out of bed, and keeping your home clean and safe.

As well as care and support organised by us, some people are also eligible to receive help from the NHS. This help may be a nursing service for people who are ill or recovering at home after leaving hospital. It could include things like changing the dressings on wounds or giving medication. If you are eligible for this kind of help, a health professional such as your GP or Community Nurse should be able to tell you.

In exceptional circumstances, where an adult has a complex medical condition and substantial on-going care needs, the NHS provides a service called NHS Continuing Healthcare. NHS Continuing Healthcare provides care and support in a person’s home, care home or hospice.

The Cap on Care costs

Major reforms to the way social care is funded will be effective from April 2020. These will include: 

  • A lifetime ‘cap’ of no more than £72,000 for individuals on reasonable care costs to meet their eligible needs.
  • An increase in the capital threshold for people in residential care who own their own home.
  • Separation of responsibility for care costs from accommodation costs.

Why has the cap on care costs been delayed?

The Government listened to concerns about the timetable for implementation and calls for more funding for care and support and has said that the delay will allow time to be taken to ensure that everyone is ready to introduce the new system and to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care. The Government has said it remains fully committed to introducing a cap on social care costs and helping people manage the costs of their social care.

Does this mean I will now have to pay for all of my care?

Everyone's situation is different both in terms of their financial situation and the type and cost of care they may need. Most people currently pay something towards their care and support costs, and will continue to do so. We can advise you on how much you may have to contribute towards the cost of your care. We may also help you find out if there are any additional benefits or financial support you may be entitled to.

Will I have to sell my house to pay for care?

For those who do have to pay the full amount for their own care there is now a national scheme called deferred payment agreements which means that you should not have to sell your home within your lifetime to pay for your care. We can provide you with more information about this.

I have requested a care assessment, but haven't yet had one. Will this still happen?

Yes you are entitled to an assessment of your care needs regardless of your financial circumstances. If you are a carer you are also entitled to an assessment of your needs. The delay in the cap on care costs does not affect your entitlement to an assessment.

I think I will have to pay the full costs of my care, will I have to wait until April 2020 to get my care costs account started?

Yes, once we know the exact implementation timetable, you will receive details about how and when to start your care account. In the meantime we may be able to provide you with information and advice about things like choosing a care provider.