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The Care Act

What is the Care Act?

The Care Act is a new law about care and support for adults in England. Before the Care Act, there were many different laws and pieces of government guidance about how care and support should be delivered. These could be confusing and made it difficult for people to find out what they are entitled to. The Care Act brings everything together under one law.

The purpose of the Care Act

The Care Act places new duties and responsibilities on councils for care and support for adults in their area.

Some key aims of the Care Act are to make sure that

  • Everyone can get the information, advice and guidance they need to make good decisions about care and support
  • People are supported to keep as well and independent as possible for as long as possible
  • People can get the services they need to help prevent or delay their care needs from becoming more serious
  • People can achieve the needs and goals that matter to them, and their wellbeing is the driving force behind their care and support.
  • There is a range of good quality care providers to choose from.
  • The same eligibility threshold for receiving funded social care is applied across the whole country
  • Different agencies co-operate and work together to improve people's wellbeing.

Where can I get more information about the Act?

The Department of Health has produced a series of fact sheets to explain different parts of the act. There is also an Easy read booklet about the act.

Here is a short film about the Care Act.

The Care Act in Hampshire

Information and advice about care and support is available to all Hampshire residents. You can get information in a number of ways, such as this website, publications and leaflet, by calling Adult Services on 0300 555 1386 or through independent organisations such as Citizens Advice Bureaux.

You can have an assessment of your social care needs regardless of your financial position. The assessment will focus on your strengths and abilities and what you want to achieve.

If you are a carer, you can have an assessment of your needs and you may be eligible for support.

If someone has significant difficulty being involved in discussions about their care needs and they have no one appropriate to support them, Hampshire County Council will arrange an independent advocate for them.

The national eligibility threshold will be used to decide who is entitled to funded social care support. If you have eligible needs you will be given a support plan showing how these needs will be met. If your needs cannot be met in any other way, then you will be given a personal budget to cover your agreed care costs.

If you own a house and pay for your own care in a care home, you can ask Hampshire County Council for a deferred payment agreement so that you don’t have to sell your house immediately to pay for your care.

Hampshire County Council will make enquiries if they think an adult may be at risk of abuse or neglect.

Changes in 2020

On 17 July 2015 the government announced their decision to delay the introduction of the cap on care costs system and the duty on local authorities to meet the eligible needs of self-funders in care homes until April 2020. The proposed appeals system for care and support is also being delayed.

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.

Cap on care costs

At the moment there is no limit to what care and support can cost, and this means that people with very high care needs may have to pay expensive bills. From April 2020 there will be a new form of protection from unlimited costs. This protection is called the ‘cap on care costs’.

It means that no one will have to pay more than £72,000 towards the care element of the costs of meeting their eligible needs in their lifetime, and many people will pay much less. This applies to people funding their own care and support, as well as those helped by the council.

Alongside the cap on care costs, extended financial support will ensure that more people are eligible for help with care and support costs. The council will assess your finances and we may be able to offer extra help if you cannot afford to pay. Most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.

As part of the 2020 changes, we will provide more financial help for those who need it and people with modest means will benefit too. Currently, only people with less than £23,250 in assets and low incomes can get help with their care and support costs.

The changes will mean that people with £118,000 worth of assets or less, could be eligible to receive financial support if they need to move to a care home. The amount they receive will depend on an assessment of their finances and personal circumstances. We will look at what assets and income a person has and decide how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of their care and support.

Last reviewed: 21/04/2016

Useful links

Easy read information about the Care Act.

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