The Care Act 2014: Will it really go far enough to improve the funding of social care

In an attempt to address these concerns changes are to be introduced by the Care Act 2014.What is being billed as the biggest change is the introduction of a cap on the amount of capital a person has to pay towards their nursing home fees of £72,000. This cap is to be introduced from April 2016.

As always the devil is in the detail. Are the changes really going to be as beneficial as is being publicised? Here is a closer look at some of the key changes that will come into effect.

Funding Care – Current Position

At the moment if you have capital (i.e. savings and property) over £23,250 you have to pay for your own care costs. The value of your home is ignored in certain circumstances, for example if it is occupied by a spouse or dependant relative.

If you have capital between £14,250 and £23,250 you are expected to make a contribution to your fees. Under £14,250 the local authority will pay the full amount. It is important to note however that this only relates to your capital. All of your income, except for a nominal amount of £23.90 a week, is taken towards paying for you fees, irrespective of your capital situation.

If any element of your care has a nursing element the cost of this should be met by the NHS. It is therefore important to ask for an assessment to be carried out of your needs, to ensure you receive all the financial assistance that you are entitled to.

Funding Care – New Position from April 2016

What is not being widely publicised is that the cap of £72,000 referred to above only relates to the cost of care, not the costs of accommodation and living costs, such as food. These costs, referred to as “daily living costs” will still have to be met by the individual.

It is envisaged that the Government will set these so called “daily living costs” at around £12,000 per annum, irrespective of whether or not the cap of £72,000 has been reached. In other words, the maximum amount people will have to pay for their care will be £72,000 plus £12,000 per year (subject to means testing).

Any care costs already paid up to April 2016 when the ‘care cap’ comes into operation will not be counted and thus everyone will start will be clean slate from this date. Most people who enter care usually do so for 2 years or more, the “care cap” may well therefore not even be relevant.

Accordingly, although at first glance, the new rules appear more favourable this may not be the case.

The rules are complex. If you have any concerns about your current or future position and questions about what can be done to plan for the future our specialist team of lawyers will be able to assist. Contact Rebecca Milburn on 0161 785 3809 or alternatively email: [email protected] for an appointment.

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