Arranging social care can be a challenge. From knowing where to start, what type of care and support you need and who pays for it, there are lots of questions to ask. But you’re not alone — we’re here to help you through the process.
F.A.Q. Here are some questions we get asked sometimes
What is the Care Act?
The Care Act 2014 came into effect in April 2015 and replaced most previous law regarding carers and people being cared for. It outlines the way in which local authorities should carry out carer’s assessments and needs assessments; how local authorities should determine who is eligible for support; how local authorities should charge for both residential care and community care; and places new obligations on local authorities.
The Care Act is mainly for adults in need of care and support, and their adult carers. There are some provisions for the transition of children in need of care and support, parent carers of children in need of care and support, and young carers. However the main provisions for these groups (before transition) are in the Children and Families Act 2014
What are my rights as a carer?
Under the Care Act you are entitled to a carer’s assessment where you appear to have needs, this matches the rights to an assessment of the person being cared for. You will be entitled to support if you meet the national eligibility criteria.
The person you care for is entitled to a ‘needs assessment’ if they appear to have needs for care and support.
Local authorities are allowed to arrange for other organisations such as charities or private companies to carry out assessments.
What are the eligibility criteria for community care services?
The Care Act 2014 set out national eligibility criteria for both carers and the person being cared for. There is a national minimum threshold and if a carer or the person being cared for meets this threshold, they will have eligible needs.
Local authorities also have the option of meeting needs that fall below the national minimum threshold.
What are the ‘wellbeing’ principles?
The Care Act introduced a general duty on local authorities to promote an individual’s ‘wellbeing’. This means that they should always have a person’s wellbeing in mind and when making decisions about them or planning services.
Wellbeing can relate to:
personal dignity (including treatment of the individual with respect)
physical and mental health and emotional wellbeing
protection from abuse and neglect
control by the individual over day-to-day life (including over care and support)
participation in work, education, training or recreation
social and economic wellbeing
domestic, family and personal relationships
suitability of living accommodation
the individual’s contribution to society
The wellbeing principles are also part of the eligibility criteria. Local authorities have to consider the impact of your role as a carer on your wellbeing. Similarly, they have to consider the impact of a disabled person’s needs on their wellbeing. If the impact is significant then the eligibility criteria are likely to be met.
What are the capital limits for receiving services?
From April 2018 the lower capital limit for both residential care and community care is £14,250. The upper capital limit for both residential care and for community care is £23,250.
Does the local authority have to provide any help to self-funders?
Since the Care Act came into force self-funders have been able to ask the local authority to arrange services, but not residential care, on their behalf. One advantage of this is that the local authority may be able to get cheaper rates than self-funders arranging care themselves. One disadvantage is that the local authority can charge an arrangement fee for this.
Local authorities have responsibility for providing information and advice to self-funders.
I have heard there is going to be a cap on care costs, when is this expected to happen?
The Government had planned to introduce a cap on care costs. It was suggested that there would be a cap on the maximum amount of care costs someone has to pay during their lifetime, which would be £72,000 for those of retirement age. However this has been postponed until 2020 at the earliest, and there is no certainty that it will ever come into effect.