The Department of Health has published its draft guidance and regulations on funding reforms due to be introduced as part of the Care Act 2014 from April 2016.
A set of documents published today set out plans for the regulations that will be used by local authorities to introduce a cap on the care costs for self-funding care users aged 65 and over and detail how a cap for working age adults and people under 25 could work.
The cap, which will initially be set at £72,000 for older people, will be measured according to how much a council would have spent on meeting the person’s eligible needs had it been doing so. Beyond that figure people will receive free care and support, though people in care homes will still have to pay up to £230 a week to meet their daily living costs, on a means-tested basis.
To access the cap, self-funders will need to undergo an assessment to identify their eligible needs and establish an independent personal budget setting out the notional cost to the council of meeting them. They would also have to have their needs reviewed each year, and their accrued costs will be measured through a “care account” until they reach the cap.
More generous means-test regime
The government will also extend the capital limit above which people receive no council help in meeting their residential care costs, from £23,250 to £118,000 for homeowners. The lower capital limit, below which people need only contribute to their care costs from their income, not their assets, will rise from £14,250 to £17,000.
The government claims an extra 80,000 people will benefit from the cap by 2025-26, while 23,000 people will benefit from the more generous residential care means-test in 2016-17 alone.
Proposals are also set out for ‘a new and impartial appeals system’ that the government hopes will lead to care funding disputes being resolved as quickly as possible. This could see social workers reviewing each other’s decisions.
A consultation on the proposals will run until 30 March 2015.
The documents published today are:
- A consultation paper on the changes
- The draft regulations in full
- An impact assessment on the changes
- An updated factsheet on funding reforms