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Government opens consultation on how care cap will work

As well as capping care costs at £72,000, plans for financial advice and regular ‘care account’ statements

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The government has set out more details of how its cap on care costs will work in order to protect people’s homes if they go into residential care.

From 2016, the reforms will cap the care costs that a person will have to pay themselves at £72,000, and provide additional financial help for people with less than £118,000 in assets, including their home.

People requiring care will be able to access financial advice. Once they start paying for care they will receive an annual ‘care account’ statement so they can see when they reach the cap or qualify for additional financial support.

If assets from a person’s home need to be used to pay for residential care, they will have the option of joining a not-for-profit ‘deferred payment’ scheme, where the local council pays the care fees and is reimbursed from the person’s estate on their death.

Where a partner or a dependent still lives in the home, the property will not be included in the assessment of assets. In this case if a person has assets of less than £27,000 (excluding their home) they will qualify for financial assistance.

The government has provided £335m for 2015/16 to cover the costs of implementation of the cap and the requirement to offer deferred payments for residential care. This includes funds that will enable local authorities to begin assessing people’s needs for care and support around six months before introduction of the cap, if they choose to do so.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “These reforms bring reassurance to millions of people by ending the existing unfair system so no one need face unlimited care costs or the prospect of selling their home in their lifetime.

“Now we are unveiling proposals for how the new system will operate and what it can do to help people plan and prepare for future care costs – and over the next three months we’ll be seeking people’s views on making it a reality.”

The consultation includes various elements of the reforms including how people’s care needs are assessed, how people’s homes are protected, and what kind of financial advice they might need.

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