Social workers to do more assessments under £75,000 cap regime

Self-funders would receive assessments and annual reviews to track their progress towards care funding cap under government reforms.

Picture credit: Burger/Phanie/Rex Features

Social care professionals would carry out more assessments and reviews than they presently do under the government’s plans to ‘cap’ lifetime social care costs for older people, unveiled yesterday.

The policy would bring many self-funders into the care management system of assessments and annual reviews to entitle them to receive full state funding for their care should their costs pass the cap, which will be set at £75,000 when the reform is introduced in 2017.

The cost to councils of additional assessments is included in the government’s estimate of the full cost of its funding reform, which is £1bn a year by 2020. This is likely to involve local authorities taking on more staff to carry out the assessments and reviews when the new funding system comes into force.

Why system will generate more assessments and reviews

Under the capped cost system, people’s progress towards the cap will be measured according to how much their local authority would spend on meeting their eligible needs in full; this applies to both full self-funders and those receiving a means-tested contribution to their community-based or residential care.

This would require them receiving an assessment of their needs and annual reviews so that their council can track notional spending on their eligible needs. When this figure reaches the cap, they would become eligible for full state funding for care, though not for the “hotel costs” of residential care.

People with eligible needs who are funding their own care would receive a notional personal budget quantifying what their council would spend on them and this will be tracked through a care account, which the council would be expected to update at least annually.

If people decline to have their care needs reviewed, their progress towards the cap will be frozen.

Legislation

The changes to the care funding system will be enacted through amendments to the current draft Care and Support Bill.

The changes would include additional duties on councils to:

  • Provide notional personal budgets for people with eligible needs who do not qualify for council-funded care because of their wealth or income;
  • Keep an up-to-date care account for this group, measuring their progress towards the care cap;
  • Review the needs of this group.

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