The Care Act
What is the Care Act?
Implemented on 1 April 2015, the Care Act gives local authorities a responsibility to assess the level of support that a carer may need.
To do this, the local authority will conduct an assessment with the carer to determine whether the carer has needs that require support. Previously, carers did not have a legal right to receive support, however on occasion the local authority was able to offer support at their discretion.
Once a carer assessment has been completed with the local authority, they will then decide whether the carer is eligible for support from the local authority. The carer will be entitled to support if they meet the eligibility criteria and the person they care for lives in the local authority area.
There are some changes that have not yet been implemented. These changes were scheduled for April 2016, but have since been delayed by the government until April 2020.
How will the new Care Act affect you?
If you are over 18 and receive care and support, or you care for someone yourself, you could benefit positively from the new Care Act. This could improve the care and support that you, or your loved ones will receive and is designed to help you plan for the future, giving you control over the help you receive.
Key changes from April 2015
- You will have the right to a free needs assessment from your council. Councils will also now use a new national eligibility criteria to determine whether you are eligible for help.
- If you receive social care support, you will have the right to request a personal budget if not already offered one.
- If you don’t qualify for help from the council, they must advise you how to pay for your own care.
- You can defer selling your home to pay your care fees until after your death.
- If paying for your own care, you can ask the council to arrange your services for you.
- If you’re a carer, you have the right to a care assessment from the local council.
- When discussing your care, if you find it difficult to communicate or to understand what is being discussed, the council must provide an advocate to help.
- The council must provide preventative services that could reduce or delay your need for care.
Key changes from April 2020
- There will be a cap on how much you have to spend on care needs. Once the cost of your care reaches £72,000, the council will pay for all your eligible needs.
- The council can reassess your care needs, even if you pay for your own care.
- There will be changes to top-up fees in care homes, which will mean you may be able to pay them yourself.
- You will have the right to complain and appeal if you are unhappy with a decision.