Changes to care and support

From April 2015, care and support in England is changing for the better. The Care Act will help to make care and support more consistent across the country and puts the wellbeing of individuals at the heart of health and social care services. You can read more about the key changes below.

Read information for people (and their families and carers) currently getting care and support from us (PDF, 137.5 KB)

If you have any comments or would like more information please email careact@kent.gov.uk.

'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.

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.

You could benefit from the changes if you:

  • receive care and support
  • support someone as a carer
  • are planning for future care and support

Find care and support

In England, 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 includes things like:

  • helping with their washing, dressing or eating
  • taking them to regular appointments
  • keeping them company when they feel lonely or anxious.

If this sounds like you, from April 2015, changes to the way care and support is provided in England mean you may be able to get more help so that you can carry on caring and look after your own wellbeing.

Get support

From April 2015, the way care and support needs are assessed in England is changing for the better, 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 will be a national level of care and support needs that all councils will consider when we assess what help we can 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.

Request an assessment

From April 2015 deferred payment agreements will be available across England.

This means that people should not have to sell their homes to pay for care, as they 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.

Read more about deferred payments

Changes to the amount you will pay from 2020

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 care and support is changing for the better, and from 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 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 people with £118,000 worth of assets or less, could be eligible to receive financial support if they need to move to a care home. The amount they receive will depend on an assessment of their finances and personal circumstances. We will look at what assets and income a person has and decide how much they can afford to contribute towards the cost of their care and support.

If you're already paying for care, find out what help is available.

Delay in introducing the cap on care costs

Introduction of the cap on care costs was due to happen in 2016. The Government has decided to delay the implementation, including changes to the means test, until 2020. The delay will allow the Government to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care and to ensure everyone is ready to introduce the new system.

The delay includes

  • £72,000 cap on care costs for adults whose needs have been confirmed as eligible over the age of 25
  • free lifetime care for adults whose needs have been confirmed as eligible under the age of 25
  • the increase to the means-test threshold, above which an individual has to pay the full cost of their care and support. This will remain at £23,250 for the time being. Read about our current charging rules.
  • the right for people who pay the full cost for their care (self-funders) in care homes to ask the local authority to meet their eligible needs.

Government announcement on delay