Care actAfter almost a year of scrutiny by the House of Lords and House of Commons, the Care Bill has finally become the Care Act having received Royal Assent.
Although it passed through Parliament with relative ease, questions were consistently raised around the issue of financial information and advice for those who have to pay for all or some of their care. Clause 4 of the Care Bill (Providing information and advice) makes provisions for local authorities to establish and maintain a service for providing people with information and advice relating to care and support for adults; this must include information and advice on how to access independent financial advice on matters relevant to the meeting of needs for care and support. However, both MPs and Peers raised concerns that this does not go far enough, and emphasised the need for local authorities to facilitate access, where appropriate, to regulated financial advice for self funders.
Government Ministers acknowledged that this advice will be important for a number of people paying for all or some of their care, and this is therefore set to be addressed in the statutory regulations and guidance that will accompany the Care Act.
The Care Act is due to be implemented in stages between April 2015 and April 2016:
April 2015 Deferred Payment Arrangements
National minimum eligibility criteria
April 2016 Cap of £72,000 on care fees, based on the local authority rate
General living costs of around £12,000 per year
Changes to upper and lower capital limits