What does a Lifetime cap on care costs mean?

Since 1998, there have been 12 green and white papers, countless consultations and five independent commissions on Adult Social Care. The Care Act 2014, legislation intended to modernise Social Care raised hopes, pressure and expectation but brought little change. U turns on promises made and remnants of hastily proposed changes have been offered while looking for a long-term solutions

In a statement made on 7/9/21 Boris Johnson vowed to end “catastrophic costs” for social care users in England with long-awaited reform proposals

The prime minister announced the plans to MPs alongside money to help the tackle pressures on the NHS caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic with the policy paper Build Back Better.

“We need reform and change”

Around 950,000 adults in England receive some form of long-term social care support, which is focused on enabling a sustained and independent quality of life and to protect individuals and families against unpredictable and potentially catastrophic care costs

What is the Lifetime Cap on care fees?

From October 2023, no eligible person starting adult social care will have to pay more than £86,000 for personal care over their lifetime”. In practice this will not usually be the actual amount a ‘self-funder’ is paying under a private agreement with their chosen care provider but the amount of money, an ‘Independent Personal Budget’ or cost to the Local Authority for ‘care’ (not accommodation or health costs) agrees as eligible.

Will care paid for now count?

No, any care costs being paid for now will NOT count towards the Lifetime cap of care as the proposed cap will not be backdated and does not commence until Oct 2023

How do I start a Lifetime Cap on Care Fees?

You can’t start a ‘Care Account’ yet as the Care Cap will begin from Oct 2023 BUT it may still be worth contacting your Local Authority for a Care Needs and/or Carers Assessment

What is a ‘Care Account’

This ‘Independent Personal Budget’ will ‘clock up’ in a ‘Care Account’ following a care needs assessment from the Local Authority from Oct 2023

What do Social Care reforms mean for me?

National Insurance contributions increase by 1.25% from April 2022
MIG and PEA – Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) for those receiving care in their own homes and Personal Expenses Allowance (PEA) for care home residents, from April 2022 will both rise in line with inflation.

A Health and Social Care Levy is expected to raise £36bn over 3 years, with hypothocated levy for Health and Social Care reform, to be distributed UK wide. £5.3billion of £36billion raised in the first three years (2022/23-2024/25) will go on social care. Much of the rest will go on helping the NHS recover from massive COVID – 19 pressures and backlogs.

Build Back Better Summary

A lifetime cap on social care (England) of £86’000 will be implemented from Oct 2023

Funding Level changes – Local Authority charging levels will increase from the current £14’250 – £23’250 to £20’000 – £100’000

Tarrif Income – People will be expected to contribute towards the cost of their care from their income, but if that is not sufficient, they will contribute no more than 20 per cent of their chargeable assets per year.

Property Disregards – However, if a person needs to continue to live in their own home, it will be excluded from the assessment of total chargeable assets. This is known as the housing disregard and is unchanged from the current rules. It is yet to be announced whether the current ‘Property Disregards’ will remain completely unchanged.

Integration – A White Paper is expected later in 2021 to propose improved integration between Health and Social Care

Asking the Local Authority to arrange care

Currently he Local Authority can arrange care at home for anyone who requests it, regardless of funding status. Section 18(3) of the Care Act 2014 is likely to be actioned in full, requiring councils to arrange care in a care home for those self-funders with eligible needs who request that they do so.

This is likely to have a significant impact on providers, many of whom rely on using higher self-funder fees to cross-subsidise the costs of state-funded residents. However, the government said the £5.4bn package included money for councils to move towards paying a “fair rate for care”, suggesting it expects local authorities to increase the fees they pay care homes

Discharge to assess

Separately, the government announced £5.4bn yesterday to support the NHS’s Covid-19 response for the next six months, which includes £478m to support hospital discharge.

Wider Social Care Reforms

It is widely acknowledged that the care system is complex and hard to navigate. We are please to see the commitment to improve information for service users to help them navigate the care system and understand the options available to them and are here to help

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Saved us nearly £200k
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