The Care Act introduced changes to the way care and support is delivered. You can find out more about these changes here.

The Care Act, implemented in April 2015, introduced changes to the way care and support is delivered. As people live longer and with a better quality of life, their care needs become different, so the way care and support is provided changed to reflect this.

The changes, embodied in the Care Act, are designed to make care and support clearer and fairer and to promote the wellbeing of both the people who are cared for and their carers. The aim is to prevent or delay people's care needs becoming more serious and to help carers to continue their caring role.

Changes to provision of and eligibility for care and support was introduced in April 2015 and funding changes were planned to be introduced in April 2016. However, these funding changes have now been delayed until 2020.

We have a team working to implement the Care Act. It is well advanced in its preparations and is already doing much that the Care Act requires. We will continue to develop and shape our practice in line with the Care Act requirements.

Main changes April 2015

  • A new national eligibility threshold based on whether a person's needs are due to a physical or mental impairment or illness; to what extent this affects their abilities and how this affects their wellbeing;
  • Unpaid carers will have the same rights as those they care for, so may be able to get more help to carry on caring and look after themselves;
  • Continuity of care when people move to another area; and
  • Deferred payments, which North Yorkshire already offers, will become universal. This means people should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care.

We are already taking action that will help to achieve many of the Care Acts aims. For example:

  • We are helping people to cope in their own homes through our reablement service, which provides intensive short-term support after people leave hospital;
  • We are tackling isolation by working with partners and through projects such as the innovation fund, which supports local facilities;
  • We have officers who will help people to maximise the benefits available to them; and
  • Our online AskSARA tool allows people to find information and advice, as well as products that can help them remain independent in their daily lives. This is used between 500 and 600 times a month.

Changes in April 2016

The government announced on Friday 17 July 2015 that Care Act Phase 2 elements due to be delivered on 1 April 2016 have now been delayed until April 2020. See the full written statement here.

In summary, there are a number of areas within the Care Act 2014 legislation that will not be implemented anytime soon, including:

Delayed Care Act element What does this mean now?
The £72,000 cap on care costs Current financial assessment rules continue to apply and there will be no mechanism for individuals to set up a care account at present.
The extension to the means tested threshold The current means tested threshold regarding how much someone will pay towards their care continues to apply.
A new appeals system for care and support Existing compliments, comments and complaints procedures for adult social care remain in place.
Meeting the eligible needs of self-funders Anyone is entitled to an assessment of their care and support needs from us. If someone who is eligible for care and support but is financially assessed as a full cost payer (self-funder), we will signpost them to relevant information and advice.

Changes to care and support

The frequently asked questions below explain more about the changes to care and support, what they are and how they may affect you.

'Care and support' is the term used to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking meals, eating, seeing friends, caring for families and being part of the community.

It might also include emotional support at a time of difficulty and stress, helping people who are caring for an adult family member or friend or even giving others a lift to a social event.

Care and support includes the help given by family and friends, as well as any provided by North Yorkshire County Council or other organisations.

From April 2015, care and support in England was changed for the better. The new Care Act will help make care and support more consistent across the country.

The new national changes are designed to put you in control of the help you receive. Any decisions about your care and support will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family, so you can stay healthy and remain independent for longer.

Some changes were introduced in April 2015 and other funding changes were planned to be introduced in April 2016. We have now been told the funding changes planned for April 2016 will not be introduced until 2020. Those in April 2015 include:

  • changes to our deferred payments scheme;
  • changes to the way we will support carers; and
  • introducing new arrangements that are the same for all local authorities to help decide if you are eligible for care and support.

As people are now living longer and with a better quality of life, the care and support needs they have are different. The way care and support is provided has to change to reflect this. The Care Act was passed to make care and support, and the way we pay for it, clearer, easier to access and more consistent across the whole of England.

You may benefit from the changes to care and support if you:

  • receive care and support from North Yorkshire County Council or another organisation, either at home or in a care home;
  • give unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend; or
  • think you may need care and support in the near future, either for yourself or for someone you help.

The changes mean that more people will be able to get the care and support they need, either from North Yorkshire County Council or from other organisations in the community. Different ways to pay for care and support will be available across the whole of England, so people should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay for care. People who receive care and support from North Yorkshire County Council will have more say over what sort of help they get. And there will also be more help available for people who give unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend.

Care and support organised by North Yorkshire County Council can include help with everyday things like washing and dressing, getting in and out of bed, and keeping your home clean and safe.

As well as care and support organised by us, some people are also eligible to receive help from the NHS. This help may be a nursing service for people who are ill or recovering at home after leaving hospital. It could include things like changing the dressings on wounds or giving medication. If you are eligible for this kind of help, a health professional such as your GP or community nurse should be able to tell you.

In exceptional circumstances, where an adult has a complex medical condition and substantial ongoing care needs, the NHS provides a service called NHS Continuing Healthcare. NHS Continuing Healthcare provides care and support in a person's home, care home or hospice.

You can find out more about NHS Continuing Healthcare here.

To find out how the changes are being introduced in this area, please contact us via email careact@northyorks.gov.uk or one of the other contact methods here.

If you find some of the language used difficult to understand, you can find an explanation of what the words mean here.

The Social Care Institute for Excellence has a range of information, including a short video on the changes in the Care Act.

The Department of Health has produced short and easy to understand factsheets about the different areas of the act.

The full guidance for the parts of the Care Act to be implemented in 2015 can be found here.

Care Act 2014 - statutory guidance for implementation.

Providers of social care

If you are a provider of social care, look at the following information specifically for you:

Deferred payment agreements

Find out about deferred payment agreements in relation to the Care Act.

Introduction to deferred payment agreements

A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with North Yorkshire County Council that will enable people to use the value of their homes to help pay care home costs. If you are eligible, we will help to pay your care home bills on your behalf. You can delay repaying us until you choose to sell your home, or until after your death.

Deferred payment agreements will suit some people's circumstances better than others'. From 1 April 2015 we can charge interest on the amount owed to us, and there will be a fee for setting this arrangement up.

A deferred payment agreement is only one way to pay for care. To find out more about the options available you can speak to a financial adviser or seek advice from an independent organisation.

Please note that before agreeing to enter into a deferred payment agreement, we have to look at the value of your home. We can also look at any outstanding mortgage, other legal charges or equity release agreements in order to ensure that it is realistic for a deferred payment agreement to go ahead.

A deferred payment agreement means that people should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay care home bills.

Deferred payment agreements will suit some people's circumstances better than others' and not everyone will be eligible. You should be eligible for a deferred payment agreement if:

  • You are receiving care in a care home (or you are going to move into one soon);
  • You own your own home (unless your partner or certain others live there); and
  • You have savings and investments of less than £23,250 (not including the value of your home or your pension pot).

Setting up a deferred payment agreement

North Yorkshire already offers deferred payments. If you want to find out more, ask social care staff during your assessment if you are eligible for a deferred payment agreement.

A person can sell their home and repay the deferred payment agreement at any point. Or they can have a deferred payment agreement for the full length of their stay in a care home and it will be paid back out of their estate, following their death.

The amount you can defer will depend on the value of your home, which determines your 'equity limit'. As a guide, most people can use around 80 to 90 per cent of the equity available in their home. The limit on equity is to protect you from not having enough money to pay sale costs of the property (like solicitor's fees) and to protect the council against a drop in housing prices and the risk that we may not get all of the money back. We will provide regular statements to advise on the up to date value of the person's debt.

If you need care in a care home but your partner lives in your own home then we will consider your partner's circumstances as well as your own. Depending on your partner's circumstances, we may decide to exclude the value of your home when we assess your finances to work out how much you will have to pay towards the costs of your care. This means that you will not face having to sell your home to pay for care and will not need a deferred payment agreement. If ownership is in doubt we will seek further legal advice.

If your partner has circumstances that mean we decide that the value of your home is not excluded, you should still be able get a deferred payment agreement, provided your partner is willing to sign the agreement too. If your partner does not sign the agreement then there is no entitlement to a deferred payment agreement.

If you jointly own a house with other person(s) then those persons will have to agree for a legal charge, securing the deferred payment agreement, to be placed upon the house.

A deferred payment agreement is designed for people who are most at risk of selling their home to pay care fees. If you are still living in your own home, you should not need a deferred payment agreement, and there are other ways for you to pay for your care (including council support if you have less than £23,250 in savings and investments). You could speak to a financial adviser or an independent organisation to find out more.

If you have savings and investments of less than £23,250 and you do not have a partner or dependent living in your home, you should be eligible for a deferred payment agreement. If you have more than £23,250, we may still offer you a deferred payment agreement.

Every situation is assessed individually, and will depend on how the savings are held - contact an independent financial adviser for guidance.

This is up to you - though there are benefits to keeping your home occupied. It must be maintained and insured for as long as you have the deferred payment agreement, and this can be cheaper and / or easier if someone is living there. You might choose to rent it out and use the income to reduce the amount you asked to defer.

If you have a deferred payment agreement, it means you should not have to sell your home in your lifetime unless you decide you want to.

The money owed to North Yorkshire County Council from care home bills paid on your behalf during the deferred payment agreement will need to be repaid eventually. This can either be repaid by selling your house or you can arrange another way to pay if you are able to. For example, someone else could pay the money owed, or your family could use any pay-out from your life assurance after your death.

Your deferred payment agreement will end automatically following your death, and your executor will have 90 days to arrange payment of the money owed. If someone else (like a friend or relative) chooses to pay the bill, then your home will not have to be sold.

Your home and your money still belong to you if you have a deferred payment agreement, so you can of course make gifts to your children. But a deferred payment agreement for care costs will always need to be repaid - either by the sale of your home after your death, by someone else, or by something like the pay-out from a life assurance policy. If we believe that your home or your money have been given away deliberately to avoid paying care charges, then we have the power to recover any money that we are owed.

During the first twelve weeks you are in a care home, your home is ignored for the purposes of calculating what you might pay and a deferred payment agreement would usually start after that period. If you are eligible, we should be able to set up a deferred payment agreement within twelve weeks of you moving to a care home but some will be arranged more quickly than this.

We will arrange to have your property valued and you can also request an independent valuation if you disagree with that valuation. We will arrange for the cost of the initial valuation to be incorporated into the administration fee for setting up the deferred payment agreement.

In order to be eligible for a deferred payment agreement your property will need to be insured. Please contact us if you have specific concerns about this. You will have to provide proof of your insurance arrangements, including proof of payment of premiums.

Carers and families can help people to make decisions about their care and how to pay for it. If we are concerned that the person applying for the deferred payment agreement does not have the capacity to understand, or won't have capacity to understand in the near future, then another person may need to represent them. Only a person that is properly authorised, like someone with legal power of attorney, can represent someone in applying for a deferred payment agreement.

Costs and charges of a deferred payment agreement

We charge an administrative fee of £125 for setting up a deferred payment agreement. This fee is to cover the costs we incur in setting it up, and not to make a profit. There are also some other costs involved. The full set up costs are:

  • One-off set-up legal costs, which are currently £125;
  • A Land Registry charge for a land search. This currently costs £48;
  • A professional valuation of your home. This costs £350 but may be £500 for more complex cases; you will be advised if the higher rate applies; and
  • An administration charge of £125.

Our legal department will write to you separately about these charges if you decide to take out an agreement.

We can charge interest on the amount owed to us (2.65% currently) whilst we are helping to pay a person's care home bills on their behalf. The interest rate will be reviewed every six months. Interest is charged to cover our costs and not to make a profit.

No. We need to make sure that we can invest in the scheme so that people can benefit from it for many years to come. The interest rate and administrative fee will cover our costs, and we won't make a profit from them.

We can charge interest on the amount owed to us whilst we are helping to pay your care home bills on your behalf. The interest rate will be reviewed every six months. Interest is charged to cover our costs and not to make a profit.

The loan will have interest charged on it in the same way a normal loan would be charged on money borrowed from a bank. The maximum interest rate that will be charged is fixed by the government. Currently the maximum rate to be charged is based on the cost of government borrowing, and will change on 1 January and 1 July every year. This interest will be compounded on a four-weekly basis.

The interest will apply from the day you enter into the deferred payment agreement.

You will receive regular statements advising you how your charge is being calculated and what the outstanding sum on your deferred payment agreement is.

In addition to the interest charged, there are also ongoing annual administrative costs of £359 (2017-18 rates).

A top-up fee can be deferred following the end of the 12 week property disregard. Any top-up fees for the first 12 weeks will need to be paid directly to the care home.

Please discuss this with us as part of completing the financial assessment.

Yes, this is an allowance not a disregard, therefore any appropriate disregards will still apply i.e. savings credit disregard.

The disposable income allowance (formally known as PEA) is a fixed amount (up to £144 per week) of a person's income which we must allow you to retain (if you want to retain it). We can require you to contribute the rest of your income, but must allow you to retain as much of your disposable income allowance as you want to.

Repaying a deferred payment agreement

    You can sell your home and repay the deferred payment agreement at any point. Or you can have a deferred payment agreement for the full length of your stay in a care home and pay it back out of your estate, following your death.

    The executor of your estate should arrange repayment of the money owed to us, either by putting your home up for sale, or by arranging for another person, such as your heir, to pay. This will usually need to be done within 90 days. If the money owed is repaid without your home being sold, then your property will be dealt with according to any instructions you have left.

    Your executor will arrange the sale and repayment of the money owed to us.

    Your heirs will usually have 90 days to repay the deferred payment agreement. Interest charges will continue to be added during this period.

    If, after 90 days they haven't taken reasonable steps to repay the deferred payment agreement, then we have the power to recover the amount owed through the courts.

    Any money that is left after the money owed to us has been repaid from your estate will be divided up according to any instructions that you leave.

    You may need to name someone (usually the executor of your will) in your deferred payment agreement, who will help us to reclaim our costs in the event of your death.

    Further information

    The maximum amount of costs that we will pay on your behalf, along with the interest rate and any administrative fees, will be set out at the start of the deferred payment agreement. These will be reviewed regularly and can be changed.

    Any other conditions, for example how the property should be maintained, will also be written down in your agreement. Make sure that you understand the full terms and conditions and get independent advice from a solicitor, financial advisor or an independent organisation before signing a deferred payment agreement.

    We will cease to contract for the care following the end of the 12 week property disregard period. After this you will need to make arrangements direct with the care home.

    A deferred payment agreement is only one way to pay for care if you own or have a financial interest in the property. To find out more about the options available, see our paying for care in a residential or nursing home page or speak to a financial adviser or seek advice from an independent organisation.

    Needs and eligibility

    Information about the eligibility and needs assessments relating to the Care Act.

    A needs assessment is a discussion between you (or the person you look after if you are a carer) and a trained person either from North Yorkshire County Council or another organisation that we work with, where you will talk about the care and support needs you have and the goals you want to achieve. We will use the assessment to identify your care and support needs, and to discuss how these could be met. This might mean that we will give you help or put you in touch with other organisations, such as local charities, that you can talk to.

    If you think you have any care and support needs, you can contact us to ask for an assessment. If you are a carer and you need some support, get in touch with us or the council covering the area where the person you care for lives for information and advice about how the assessment will work.

    The needs assessment will consider what care and support needs you have and how these affect your wellbeing. This will include identifying any physical needs, such as whether you need help to wash or dress, get in and out of bed or keep your home safe to live in. The assessment will also look at your mental and emotional needs and ask what is important to you in how you live your life, such as being able to carry on working or volunteering, or being able to meet your friends.

    Everyone's needs and the ways they affect people's wellbeing are different. Identifying your needs and the things you want to achieve will help us to decide if we can help. Depending on what needs you have, we may give you information and advice about other kinds of support available locally that can help you, such as charities or community groups.

    A 'needs assessment' is an assessment of an adult who may need care and support. A 'carer's assessment' is for someone who gives care and support to an adult family member or friend. Caring can include lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.

    Find out more about a carer's assessment here.

    The assessment is about you and we will make sure that you are able to be involved. If you wish, then your carer, a friend or family member can help and represent you. If you don't have a carer, family member or friend who you can ask, and you have a lot of difficulty doing the assessment yourself, we will find an independent advocate to help you.

    If you are already receiving care and support from us, you do not need to ask for a reassessment. We will contact you if there are any changes that affect you. If your needs have changed recently and you feel like you need more care and support, you can ask for a new assessment.

    Lots of different people can carry out assessments - as long as they have the right training. You could also be offered a supported self-assessment. This means you do your assessment yourself with help from the council.

    A needs assessment won't ask about your finances. But if you are eligible for care and support from North Yorkshire County Council, you may have to pay something towards the cost. To find out how much you might need to pay, we may ask you to do a financial means test and you would then need to disclose details about your savings, assets and income.

    For the first time from April 2015, there will be a national level of care and support needs that all councils will consider when we assess what help we can give you.

    We will assess your care and support needs with you, and decide if they are at the level where you need help from us. Your needs could be eligible if you are not able to do a combination of certain things that seriously effects your wellbeing. These may include washing yourself, getting dressed, getting in and out of bed or keeping your home safe for you to live in.

    After the assessment we will write to you about our decision and give you reasons to explain what we have decided.

    If you have eligible needs, we will contact you to discuss what help might be available. This will be based on the information you gave us during your assessment. As far as possible we will agree your care and support plan with you.

    If you do not have needs that are eligible, we will give you information and advice about what care and support is available to help you locally. This could be help from local charities or voluntary organisations for example.

    Everyone's needs are different. They may be physical, mental or emotional. You may find that the support you need could be met by something going on in your local community, for example services organised by local charities or other support networks. Whatever your level of need, we will give you information and advice that can help you. We might also be able put you in touch with other organisations who can support your wellbeing and help you remain independent for longer.

    If you have arranged care and support yourself, either in your own home or in a care home, you do not need to be assessed by us.

    We will assess you to see if you have any eligible needs. If you do have eligible needs, we will work out if we can help you and we will calculate how much it should cost to meet your needs. This amount will count towards your cap.

    Not necessarily. We may decide that we don't need to do an assessment.

    The new national level will give you peace of mind that if you decide to move to another area in England; the new council will meet at least the same minimum level of care and support needs as your old one. Councils will also have to work together to make sure that there is no gap in your care.

    If you have needs that meet the new national level, you will be able to get some help from your council wherever you live in England. Although the level of need councils use to decide whether or not they can help will be the same across the country, the help they give you might be different in different areas. For example, one council might provide a buddying service to stop people from feeling lonely, whilst another might help people to stop feeling lonely by introducing them to community events in their area.

    Support for adult carers

    Find out about support for adult carers in relation to the Care Act.

    In England, millions of people provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in their own home or somewhere else.

    'Caring' for someone covers lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.

    If this sounds like you, you are considered to be a 'carer.'

    From April 2015, care and support in England is changing for the better, and if the person you care for is an adult (aged 18 or over) you may be able to get more help to carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing.

    Our customer services centre staff will help you decide what you may need and who to contact. They can put you in touch with our specialist social care staff, who will look at what extra help may be needed.

    'Support for carers' is what we mean by the help and advice that carers can get from North Yorkshire County Council, national services and local networks. As a carer, you may be able to get more help so that you can carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing.

    From April 2015, changes to the way care and support is provided in England mean you may be eligible for support, such as a direct payment to spend on the things that make caring easier; or practical support, like arranging for someone to step in when you need a short break. Or you may prefer to be put in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to.

    North Yorkshire County Council or the council covering the area where the person you care for lives can help you find the right support and you can ask them for a carer's assessment.

    A carer's assessment will look at the different ways that caring affects your life and work out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of this assessment. As a result, you may be eligible for support from the council, who will also offer you advice and guidance to help you with your caring responsibilities.

    You can have a carer's assessment even if the person you care for does not get any help from the council, and they will not need to be assessed.

    The council covering the area where the person you care for lives can help you find the right support and you can ask them for a carer's assessment. The carer's assessment will help to decide what care and support you need and how much help the council can give you.

    If you are a young carer yourself, or if you are a parent caring for a disabled child, you have similar rights to assessment and support but they are covered by the Children and Families Act, not the new Care Act.

    If you or the person you are caring for is about to reach the age of 18 years, you will be able to get a 'transition assessment' which will let you know whether you or they are likely to be eligible for support as an adult caring for another adult.

    The Department for Education will soon be publishing further information on the rights of parent carers and young carers and how councils should support them.

    To find out more about support for parent carers and young carers see our young carers - support and advice page or visit www.nhs.uk/carersdirect.

    If you provide care and support to an adult friend or family member, you may be eligible for support, such as a direct payment to spend on the things that make caring easier; or practical support, like arranging for someone to step in when you need a short break. Or you may prefer to be put in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to.

    A carer's assessment will consider the impact the care and support you provide is having on your own wellbeing and important aspects of the rest of your life.

    You can ask for a carer's assessment at any time. You should contact the council covering the area where the person you care for lives, if it is not North Yorkshire County. If you don't want a carer's assessment but you are looking for advice and information about local support, the council will be able to help you.

    A carer's assessment will look at the different ways caring affects your life and work out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. It should cover your caring role, your feelings about caring, your physical, mental and emotional health, and how caring affects your work, leisure, education, wider family and relationships.

    Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of this assessment. This means that you will be able to tell the council how caring for someone is affecting your life and what could make things better for you and the person you look after.

    You won't need to do a financial means test as part of the carer's assessment but you might be asked about what impact the cost of caring is having on your finances. The carer's allowance that some people receive for caring on a full-time basis is different and does require a means test.

    No - having a carer's assessment will not affect your right to receive a carer's allowance.

    A carer's assessment is about you and your wellbeing. It will consider the impact that caring is having on your life and what support might be available for you. Its purpose is not to judge the care that you provide.

    Yes. But you will need to do this through the council of the person that you support, if it is not the same as North Yorkshire County Council. You can also ask for an assessment for the person you care for, if you want to.

    Everyone who gives unpaid care to an adult over the age of 18, and has some need for support, can request an individual carer's assessment. They do not have to be done together.

    This should not affect the support you may be offered. If you care for an adult family member of friend, and you feel like you need some support, you can contact the council covering the area where the person you care for lives to ask for a carer's assessment.

    If the council decides that you have needs that meet the new national level they will discuss with you what support they can provide.

    If your needs are not eligible, the council will give you information and advice about other types of support that are available in your area. This may include putting you in touch with local charities or community organisations.

    You don't need the permission of the person you are caring for to request a carer's assessment. You are entitled to ask for one in your own right.

    Each person's situation is different. The cost would either be covered by the council, or a contribution would need to be paid by the person receiving the care. You as a carer cannot be charged for any support provided directly to the person you care for, even if it helps you to take a break.

    If either of these things happen, we will be able to discuss your situation with you and agree the next steps to take.

    To find more about support for carers see our adult carers page or visit www.nhs.uk/carersdirect.

    Care Act British Sign Language videos

    The Department of Health has produced a series of British Sign Language (BSL) videos explaining more about the Care Act changes. View the videos below.

    The Care Act

     

    Care and support is changing for the better (British Sign Language)

     

    Getting the right care and support for you (British Sign Language)

     

    Carers (British Sign Language)

     

    Deferred payments (British Sign Language)

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