In April 2015, the new Care Act brought a range of changes to care and support for adults. If you receive care and support now, or think you may do in the future, or you look after a friend or family member, you could benefit from the changes. 

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. 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 new 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.

The changes mean that more people will be able to get the care and support they need, either from the 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 the 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.

From April 2020, financial support will be available to more people, and everyone will be protected from unlimited care and support costs. To find out more about this changes and why they have been delayed until 2020, read more here on the gov.uk website.

What's changing?

  • Eligiblility: Your care and support needs will be assessed against nationally agreed criteria to make it fairer and easier for you to plan for the future.  

  • Support for carers: If you care for an adult friend or family member, you will be eligible for an assessment which may mean you get more support to help you carry on caring.

  • Paying for care: Rather than sell your home to pay for residential care, the changes mean some people will be able to take out a ‘deferred payment’ loan with the Council until after their death, or until they choose to sell their home. In April 2016 the government plans to limit the total amount that people are expected to contribute towards their care (this is known as a cap on care costs).

  • Keeping people in need of care and support safer: To ensure that we and our partners are clear on their responsibilities for vulnerable adults, through better coordinated care and support 

If you are involved in arranging or delivering adult social care and want more information, visit the Local Government Association website where you will find lots of useful information.

 

 

British Sign Language Videos of campaign leaflets

 

 

 

What is the cap on care costs?

At the moment there is no limit to what care and support can cost, and this means that people with very high care needs may have to pay expensive bills. From April 2020 there will be a new form of protection from unlimited costs. This protection is called the ‘cap on care costs.’ It means that no-one will have to pay more than a certain amount (to be confirmed) towards the costs of their eligible care and support needs in their lifetime, and many people will pay much less. This applies to people funding their own care and support, as well as those helped by the council. Alongside the cap on care costs, extended financial support should ensure that more people are eligible for help with care and support costs. The council will assess your finances and we may be able to offer extra help if you cannot afford to pay. But most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.

Why is the cap on care costs being introduced?

Most people currently pay something towards their care and support costs, and will continue to do so. The cap on care costs will protect those who may need many hours of care a day from unlimited care bills. It will also help people to plan for future care costs.

How will I benefit?

From April 2020, you will be able to register with the council to keep track of how much your care and support costs. We should still be able to help you even if you are only paying part of your care and support costs, or paying everything yourself. If you get help from the council with your care and support costs already, we will start to count how much is being spent on your care straight away. Once the amount the care element of the cost of meeting your eligible needs reaches an amount specified by the national government, we will step in and pay for the rest of your care costs. If you pay for all of your care and support costs yourself, you can still benefit from the cap on care costs. You can contact the council to register and we will assess you to decide if you have eligible needs. If you do have eligible needs, we will calculate how much it will cost to meet those needs. This amount will be counted towards your cap.To benefit from the cap on care costs you will need to register with us so that we can begin to keep track of how you are progressing towards the cap. This will need to be discussed and agreed.

What is excluded from the cap on care costs?

If you choose to spend more on care and support than the council would normally pay, for example moving to a more expensive care home, those extra amounts you spend will not count towards your cap on care costs. If you live in a care home, you will also have to pay something towards the costs of food, energy bills and accommodation, just as you would if you were living in your own home. These are known as ‘daily living costs’ and an amount for this will be set nationally. There are also some types of service that are not covered by the cap on care costs, for example the cost of a cleaner or gardener that you employ privately.

 

What is a deferred payment agreement?

A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council that will enable people to use the value of their homes to help pay care home costs. If you are eligible, the Council will set up a loan which will help pay the cost of the care required 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’. We will 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, or visit our page on paying for care.

Why have they been introduced?

A deferred payment agreement means that people should not have to sell their home in their lifetime to pay care home bills. This national scheme replaces the existing one offered by B&NES Council as this it is slightly different. Existing agreements will not be changed to reflect the new terms and conditions.

Who is eligible for a deferred payment agreement?

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) or you have savings and investments of less than £23,250 (not including the value of your home or your pension pot). 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.

When can I apply for a deferred payment agreement?

This Council already has a Deferred Payment Scheme which will continue to be available to eligible residents until the national scheme is introduced.

How do I apply for a deferred payment agreement?

Visit our section on paying for care for details.

When will I have to repay the 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. 

How much can I defer?

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 80-90% 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.

What if my husband/wife/civil partner lives in my house?

If you need care in a care home but your partner lives in your own home then the council 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 your partner has circumstances that mean the council decides 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.

I pay for my own care at home, can I apply for a deferred payment agreement?

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.

I already live in a care home. Can I apply for a deferred payment agreement?

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. Contact us directly to find out more.

My partner's share of our savings are in my name, will that be taken into account?  

This will depend on how the savings are held – contact the council or an independent financial adviser for guidance.

How much will it cost me to set up a deferred payment agreement?

Every council is entitled to charge an administrative fee for setting up a deferred payment agreement. This fee is to cover the costs we incur in setting up your deferred payment agreement, and not to make a profit. The fee is set by the Council in its annual budget each February. It is proposed that this fee in 2015 will be £560.

What is the interest rate on a deferred payment agreement?

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 is currently 2.55%, and will be reviewed every six months according to the advice of the Office of Budgetary Responsibility. Interest is charged to cover our costs and not to make a profit.

Will the council make a profit out of deferred payment agreements?

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.

Who will live in my home if I have a deferred payment agreement?

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 the council to defer.

Can I avoid selling my home if I get a deferred payment agreement?

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. As with any loan, the money owed to the 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.

Can I still get a deferred payment agreement if I have gifted money or my home to my children?

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 the council believes 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.

How long does it take to set up a deferred payment agreement?

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 DPA 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.

Who will value my home?

The council will undertake a valuation based on Land Registry prices of properties sold locally. An example of this can be found on public websites such as www.Zoopla.co.uk. If you are not happy with this valuation you can arrange your own independent valuation with a member of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, which we are likely to accept as a mutually agreeable solution.

Can the terms of my deferred payment agreement be changed at any time?

The maximum amount of costs that the council 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.

Can I get a deferred payment agreement if my house is in a flood risk area?

In order to be eligible for a deferred payment agreement your property will need to be insured. Some flood risk areas may not be covered by insurance companies. The Council is aware of the local risks and may ask an engineer to advise on the potential risk before we enter into an agreement. Please contact us if you have specific concerns about this.

What will happen to my home after my death?

The executor of your estate should arrange repayment of the money owed to the council, 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.

Who decides on the price my home will be sold at after my death?

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

How long will my heirs have to pay back the deferred payment agreement without incurring extra charges?

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

What will happen if my heirs don’t pay back the deferred payment agreement within the 90 days? Will they be charged extra?

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

Are all heirs equally liable for the repayment of a deferred payment agreement?

The money lent by the Council will be repaid before the executors can divide up the estate for your heirs according to any instructions that you leave. If the value of your estate is not sufficient to meet the cost of repayment to the Council the heirs will not be liable for the outstanding debt. In this situation the Council is likely to investigate all transactions from your accounts over the previous seven years to ensure that money has not been removed to avoid care costs.

How is the money reclaimed?

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.

Can a family member apply for a deferred payment agreement if a person needing care has dementia or does not have the capacity to understand?

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.

Where can I find out more about deferred payment agreements?

To find out how the changes are being introduced in this area, get in touch with us at My Care My Support My_CareMySupport@BATHNES.GOV.UK

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, find out more in our money and legal section.

What is a needs assessment?

A needs assessment is a discussion between you (or the person you look after if you are a carer) and a trained person from an organisation that the council works with, where you will talk about the care and support needs you have and the goals you want to achieve. Initially this might be in the form of a telephone discussion where you can get information and advice about care and support, but if it appears likely that you have eligible needs, a meeting will be arranged. We will use the assessment to identify your care and support needs, and to discuss how these could be met. This might mean that the council will give you help or put you in touch with other organisations, such as local charities, that you can talk to.

Who should have a needs assessment?

If you think you have any care and support needs, you can contact the council to ask for an assessment. If you are looking after a family member or friend and you need some support, you can have a carers assessment. Get in touch with the council covering the area where the person you care for lives. The council will be able to give you information and advice about how the assessment will work. 

What will be considered during the needs assessment?

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.

Is a needs assessment the same as a carer’s assessment?

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. 

Can I get someone to help me with my assessment?

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, the council will find an independent advocate to help you.

Will I need to be re-assessed?

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.

Who will do the assessment?

Lots of different people can carry out assessments - as long as they have the right training. The person doing your assessment could be a social worker or care manager, or it could be someone else.  We will make sure that whoever carries out your assessment has the right training.  You could also be offered a supported self-assessment. This means you do your assessment yourself with help from the council. .

Will the council look into my finances?

A needs assessment won’t ask about your finances. But if you are eligible for care and support from the council, you may have to pay something towards the cost. To find out how much you might need to pay, we will do a financial assessment with you or your representative. This considers your savings, assets and income as well as things you have to pay for, such as items needed to maintain your own health, before coming to a decision about the appropriate charge for your care.

How will I know if I have eligible needs?

For the first time, 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. The council 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 the council 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.

What happens if my needs are not eligible for care and support from the council?

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.

I pay for my own care, do I need to be assessed by the council?

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 the council.

Must I have a needs assessment to get a deferred payment agreement?

Not necessarily. We may decide that we don’t need to do an assessment if the care home have an assessment we can rely upon.

How will the new national level of needs affect you if you are planning to move?

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. Find out more about moving into or out of Bath and North East Somerset.

If I am receiving care and support and decide to move, will I lose the help I currently get?

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. Find out more about moving into or out of Bath and North East Somerset.

 

If you are a carer and the person you care for is an adult (aged 18 or over), you may now be able to get more help to carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing.

You may be eligible for support, this may include:
-a direct payment to give you control over how it is spent to spend on the things that make caring easier
-practical support, like arranging for someone to step in when you need a short break
- help to join a local support group so you have people to talk to.

Find out more about support if you are looking after someone and carers assessments.

What about parents caring for disabled children, or young carers who are under 18?

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 visit www.nhs.uk/carersdirect. Find out more about support for young carers in Bath & North East Somerset. 

Care and support organised by the 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 on-going 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

 

Overview of the Care Act (Skills for Care factsheet)

Care Act factsheets (a range of factsheets produced by the Department of Health)

Care Act 2014 (full information)

Care & Support 'jargon buster'

Society of later Life Advisers (SoLLA)

The purpose of this policy is to set out Bath and North East Somerset Council’s policy and procedure for the protection of property as prescribed by the Care Act 2014. It provides a framework for social care managers and practitioners, who in partnership with the Client Finance Team deputyship officers, are responsible for carrying out the protection of property as a delegated duty on the Council’s behalf.

Our starting assumption is that Bath and North East Somerset residents are expert in understanding their own needs and how best to achieve the health and social care support they need — both within their own homes and/or within the wider local community. We will therefore seek wherever possible to support adults to make their own arrangements to protect their property whilst also having a system in place if a person has no other suitable arrangements to protect their property.

Read the policy and procedure for more information.

Help us improve this content