Section 5: Cap on care costs
A cap on care costs was due to be introduced in April 2016, but this has now been delayed until April 2020. The Government remains committed to introducing a cap on social care costs, but has said that 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.
5.1 Which elements of the Care Act have been delayed?
Three elements of the Care Act have been delayed:
- the Cap on Care Costs (to April 2020)
- the extension to the Means Test Thresholds (to April 2020)
- the Appeals system (pending the Comprehensive Spending review).
5.2 When will the appeals system for care and support be introduced – will this be delayed until 2020?
The Government will make a further announcement on the new appeals system following the Spending Review in the Autumn (due to be published on 25 November). The timetable for appeals implementation will be confirmed after this date. In the meantime, those using care and support will continue to be able to make use of the existing complaints system and ultimately, the Local Government Ombudsman.
5.3 What does the delay to the introduction to the cap on care costs mean for me?
5.3.1 Does the delay mean I will now have to pay for all of my care?
Everyone’s situation is different both in terms of their financial situation and the type and cost of care they may need. Most people currently pay something towards their care and support costs, and will continue to do so. We can advise you on how much you may have to contribute towards the cost of your care. We may also help you find out if there are any additional benefits or financial support you may be entitled to.
5.3.2 Will I have to sell my home to pay for care?
For those who do have to pay the full amount for their own care, there is now a national scheme called deferred payment agreements which means that you should not have to sell your home within your lifetime to pay for your care. You can find out more about deferred payment agreements in Section 2 of this document.
5.3.3 I think I will have to pay for the full costs of my care, will I have to wait until April 2020 to get my care costs account started?
Yes, once we know the exact implementation timetable, you will receive details about how and when to start your care account. In the meantime, we may be able to provide you with information and advice about things like choosing a care provider.
5.3.4 I was told that there would be changes to the means test in April 2016. Has this also been delayed?
Yes, a means test is where a person’s finances and assets are looked at to decide how much they will be asked to contribute towards their care. At the moment, if you have capital and savings above £23,250 you will fund all of your social care.
5.3.5 Are all the rules for working age adults including a nil-cap for under 25s deferred until 2020?
Yes, this has been deferred.
5.3.6 Is the principle of £230 as a daily living allowance deferred until 2020?
Yes, this has been deferred.
5.4 I have requested a care assessment, but haven’t yet had one. Will this still happen?
Yes, you are entitled to an assessment of your care needs regardless of your financial circumstances. If you are a carer you are also entitled to an assessment of your needs. The delay in the cap on care costs does not affect your entitlement to an assessment. You can find out more about needs assessments in Section 3 of this document.