On the 14th May the Care Bill received Royal Assent and became the Care Act 2014. The Act represents the most significant reform of care and support in more than 60 years.
On the plus side the Act introduces a cap on the amount people will be required top pay towards the cost of their care and requires all local authorities to introduce a deferred payment arrangement so no-one will be forced to sell their home during their lifetime to fund care. It also specifies that Councils will have to offer information and advice to help care recipients and their families understand the system, to obtain the support they need and to plan for the cost of care. . .
BUT ON THE DOWNSIDE:
- The cap of £72,000 relates to care costs only and there is no limit going forwards on the amount people will have to pay towards “hotel” costs which, in most cases, represent the larger part of any costs.
- Not even every pound paid towards pure care costs will count towards the cap – in many cases the effective cap will be considerably higher than £72,000.
- Although a universal payment scheme is to be introduced the new arrangement will also enable local authorities to charge interest on the loan from day one rather than, as now, from 56 days after the death of the care recipient. We don’t know yet what the interest rate will be!
- It is not yet clear how or what “information and advice” will be made available..
You can see the details here Publication: Care Act 2014 c.23
The draft regulations and statutory guidance are subject to consultation and will provide further clarification in due course.
Hopefully matters will be far clearer by the date of the SFE Somerset Regional meeting September at which I will be presenting a session on the Care Act, why it isn’t the panacea the politicians may like us to think it is and why clients will still need specialist advice.
Other Members of the Society of Later life Advisers (SOLLA) will be presenting various case studies showing how specialist legal and financial advice in this and other areas can be joined up to benefit our mutual clients in later life.