The Care Act 2014 was given Royal Assent on 14th May 2014. The Act deals with several aspects of social care and the financing of social care and it is the first law to put a national limit on the amount that a person will have to pay for care. The Act also includes measures relating to increased transparency and quality across the care system.
The Act introduces a minimum eligibility threshold applicable across the country, which provides a set of criteria that must be used when a person needs assistance from the local authority. This will mean that the same thresholds apply to all local authorities, instead of there being different rules in different parts of the country. The amount that people have to spend on care will be capped at £72,000 and after that amount has been spent, the state will pay the costs of care. It is estimated that an additional 35,000 people will receive help with the costs of care from April 2016.
In addition to this, for the first time local authorities will have a duty to consider the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of the individual needing care. The Act also includes provisions relating to personal budgets, so that the person in need of care can spend money in a way that suits his or her individual needs.
All local authorities will have to offer a deferred payment scheme – this is an agreement between the local authority and the person receiving care (or his or her representative) where the costs of care do not have to be paid immediately but might be paid at a later date, for example after the person’s death. The aim of this provision is to ensure that a person does not have to sell his or her property to fund the costs of care.The Act also includes provisions to give carers new rights and requires local authorities to assess a carer’s eligibility to receive support for particular needs.
The Act also includes provisions relating to safeguarding adults at risk of abuse or neglect, the point at which a child turns 18 and requires adult social services and the quality of care and the Care Quality Commission. Further regulations and guidance will be published in the future but the Act appears to be a significant reform of the rules and is likely to affect a growing section of the ageing population of this country.
If you consider that any of the issues raised in this article might affect you or your family then please contact any of our private client team to discuss further.