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The Care Act 2014

‘Care and support’ is the term used to describe the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have.

It can include help with things like getting out of bed, washing, dressing, getting to work, cooking meals, eating, seeing friends, caring for families and being part of the community.

It might also include emotional support at a time of difficulty and stress, helping people who are caring for an adult family member or friend or even giving others a lift to a social event.

Care and support includes the help given by family and friends, as well as any provided by the council or other organisations.

Your wellbeing 

Many of us will need care and support at some point in our lives and most people will pay at least something towards the cost of their care. 

The new national changes are designed to help you plan for the future and put you more 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.

If you receive care and support, or you support someone as a carer, you could benefit from the changes.

Updated January 2016

What is the Care Act 2014?

The Care Act 2014 represents the biggest reformation of care and support in 60 years.

It takes forward the Government's commitments to reform social care legislation and to drive up the quality of care.

It tells councils across England what they need to do if someone has social care needs and needs support either in their own home or in a care home.

It affects both those needing care and support and carers.

What has changed?

From April 2015, there is:

  • a new national level of care and support needs to make care and support more consistent across the country
  • new support for carers 

More changes to the way people pay for care and support will be introduced in 2020.

These include:

  • a lifetime cap on care costs to protect people with the highest needs from facing unlimited costs
  • extended financial support to people with modest means

Support for carers

Millions of people provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in their own home or somewhere else.

‘Caring’ for someone covers 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.

If you are a carer you may be entitled to a carers assessment, which will look at ways we can help you.

Needs and Eligibility

From April 2015, the way care and support needs are assessed in England has changed, meaning that decisions made about the help you receive will consider your wellbeing and what is important to you and your family.

For the first time, there is a national level of care and support needs that all councils consider when assessing what help to give to you. This may result in you being eligible for care and support, and will make it easier for you to plan for the future.

Whatever your level of need, we will be able to put you in touch with the right organisation to support your wellbeing and help you remain independent for longer.

Find out about needs assessment and eligibility

Deferred Payment Agreements

From April 2015 deferred payment agreements are available across England. This means that you should not have to sell your home to pay for care, as people have sometimes had to do in the past.

A deferred payment agreement is an arrangement with the council that will enable some people to use the value of their homes to pay for their care.

If you are eligible, we will help to pay the care home bills on your behalf. You can delay repaying us until you choose to sell your home, or until after your death.

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. But 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 £72,000 towards the care element of the costs of meeting their eligible 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 will ensure that more people are eligible for help with care and support costs. We will assess your finances and we may be able to offer extra help if you cannot afford to pay. Most people will still have to contribute something towards the cost of their care and support.

As part of the 2020 changes, we will provide more financial help for those who need it and people with modest means will benefit too. Currently, only people with less than £23,250 in assets and low incomes can get help with their care and support costs.

The changes will mean that if you have £118,000 worth of assets or less, you could be eligible to receive financial support if you need to move to a care home.

The amount you receive will depend on your finances and personal circumstances.

We will look at what assets and income you have and decide how much you can afford to contribute towards the cost of your care and support.

Further information

Find out more about the Care Act on the Healthwatch Suffolk website.

The full legislation can be found at

The Care Act - easy read

Easy read booklet about the Care Act.

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