The Care Act 2014 (which doesn’t live up to its name)

The Care Act 2014 comes into play in two parts.  From April 2015 Local Authorities were under a duty to assess people for their overall wellbeing, to see if they require any help with daily living.

The much heralded financial changes come into force in April 2016 with the “cap on care costs” seen to bring an end to your life savings being exhausted in care fees.  But is this true?

Katherine Jordan

Katherine Jordan

At the moment, you would pay in full for your care if your assets exceed £23,250.  From
April 2016 this limit rose to £118,000 so, from that date, you can own far more in assets and still receive financial help from your Local Authority.  You would receive only limited help though, as the assessment is on a sliding scale and maximum financial help is only available when your assets are down to £17,000.

The cap on care costs is not what it at first seems.  If you spend £72,000 on care, then you need spend no more and the Local Authority will take over, is the message.  Is this correct?  Not quite.  All that counts towards the £72,000 care cap is what each Local Authority determines is for care.  Therefore the element that you will pay for living costs (food, heating etc) will not count, nor will any “top up” for being in a luxurious care home.

So, if the amount for “care” is set at £250 per week, it will take years to reach the £72,000 cap before the government helps, and all the while you will be paying for living costs.  Even if you have spent the maximum of £72,000 on care, you will always be responsible for living costs.

And, only what you spend after 1 April 2016 will count.  Anything that you have paid for care before then, will not count towards the cap.  And the cap on care fees only applies to people of pensionable age – so try hard not to be in need of help before then!

If you receive unpaid help from a relative, that is very valuable indeed, but again it does not count towards the £72,000 cap on care costs.

You will see from the above that it is likely that the cost of care in the future is going to be just as costly as it is now.

Katherine Jordan
Private Client Department
0113 227 9231

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