Govt consults on Care Act

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The government has announced a consultation on the implementation of the Care Act 2014 which contains the laws for the Dilnot cap on long-term care costs.

The cap limits an individual's care fees (but not cost of living or ‘hotel fees') from going above £72,000, in their lifetime, and is due to come into effect in 2016.

The public consultation concerns the details of the cap's implementation. It will consult on the details of regulations and guidance which will come in as a result of the act and runs to 30 March 2015.

The Department of Health recently proposed that a cap of £0 will be in place for those who develop care needs before the age of 25, while all those above 25 will have the same £72,000 cap.

Adults of working age who develop care needs will have the same cap on their care costs as the elderly.

The costs of daily living, which will not count towards the cap, will be set at £230.

For those in care from April 2016 there will be a compulsory "personal budget" which sets out the money needed to meet someone in care's care and support needs.

Those arranging their own care will have an "independent personal budget" which will reflect what it would cost the local authority to meet the person's needs.

Restrictions on paying top-up fees for a person's own care will be lifted, and some of the changes to top up fees will come in earlier than other parts of the reforms, in April 2015.

Top-up fees are also outside the cap, meanwhile the means-test limit will be raised so that those with assets of less than £118,000 will qualify for means-tested local authority help with care costs.

Those with assets of less than £17,000 will contribute only what they can afford from their income.

The consultation will also cover the appeals process for people who feel the decisions made about their care needs do not reflect their circumstances.

Introducing the consultation, Norman Lamb, the minister for care and support at the Department of Health, said: "The ongoing engagement activity driving radical reform of care and support in England is a case in point.

"The Care Act 2014 is a shining example of policy and legislation developed and fine-tuned through full and frank conversations, not just with those working in or with the health and care system, but the people it exists to serve."

Thomas Kenny, head of technical pricing at Partnership, said: "The recent consultation on the introduction of the Care cap makes for interesting reading. At the moment, anyone who is under-eighteen when they develop care needs receives free support for life and the consultation proposes to move this threshold to 25.

"After this, anyone who develops care needs will see their care costs ‘capped' at £72,000 - with the usual caveats around hotel costs, level of need and local authority rates.

"This move certainly levels the playing field and while it may not apply to a significant number of people, it will have a hugely positive impact for those it does."

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