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Care Act 2014

The Care Act is a law which brought together lots of previously separate care and support laws into one place. The Care Act changed some practices and created some new duties for local authorities.

The changes were made to ensure that your wellbeing is at the centre of everything we do in Adult Social Care. The Care Act puts you and your carers in control of your care and support.

The Care Act first became law on 1 April 2015.

It included:

  • a duty on all local authorities to provide better information and advice. We must also provide support to help you to access and understand this information
  • the introduction of a new national eligibility criteria which will make care and support more consistent across the whole of England
  • improved rights to support individuals who have caring roles and responsibilities giving them the same rights as the person they care for
  • a new universal deferred payment scheme that will enable you to retain your property by deferring some of your care costs by a charge being placed on your property

New in the Care Act

New additions to the care act include:

  • carers entitlements and rights: if you are a carer you will be entitled to your own assessments to see if you are eligible for support
  • national eligibility criteria: there is now a new national eligibility criteria so the same rules apply across the whole of England
  • advocacy: if you find it very difficult to be involved at any stage of your assessment or care planning and there is no family member or friend to speak for you an independent advocate must be provided who will represent your best interests to get the services you need. Dorset Advocacy have produced a useful guide to advocacy services they provide
  • keeping adults safe: for the first time there is a law telling councils what to do to help keep you safe from abuse or neglect

Eligibility for care and support

All councils now use the same national level of care and support needs to assess what help they can give you.

The new criteria focuses on the best outcomes for you. Our eligibility criteria already met the new national standard.

If you decide to move to another area, councils will work together to ensure that there is no gap in your care.

If you are already receiving care and support from us you will continue to receive the same level of support until your next review when your care package might change.

Support for carers

For the first time, carers were recognised in the law in the same way as those they care for.

If you are a carer you are now entitled to an assessment of your own needs, irrespective of whether the person you care for has eligible needs.

If you live in a different area to the person you care for you should ask for a carer’s assessment from the local council for the person you care for.

A carer’s physical, mental and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of the assessment, which could result in practical support such as respite care, a direct payment to spend on the things that make it a little easier to carry on caring or information about local support groups.

Deferred payment agreements

Deferred payment agreements are available across the whole of England.

Deferred payment agreements mean that you should not have to sell your home in your lifetime to pay for your care.

A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council enabling you to use the value of your home to fund care home costs without having to sell your home in your lifetime.

Eligibility criteria include having savings and investments of less than £23,500 (not including the value of your home and pension pot).

There will be ongoing administrative charges and an interest charge on the amount deferred as soon as the agreement is set up. This is a requirement of the Care Act.

Page last updated: 17 September 2019
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