Cap on care costs delay FAQs for local authorities

Funding reform was due to come into force in April 2016 but the Government has decided to delay implementation until April 2020.

What is changing?
The Government has said that the delay will allow time to be taken to ensure that everyone is ready to introduce the new system and to look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care.

Which elements have been delayed?

  • the Cap on Care Costs (to April 2020)
  • the extension to the Means Test Thresholds (to April 2020)
  • the Appeals system (pending the Comprehensive Spending review).

What do we need to do now?

  • update your external and internal communications
  • communicate the changes to your staff, partners and stakeholders
  • continue to deliver the care act reforms that are already in place
  • continue local communications to ensure current and future care users and carers are aware of the changes to care and support that you have already implemented.

What do we need to stop doing?
Planning or undertaking for early assessments of self funders. However local authorities are reminded of their wider responsibilities to all citizens under part one of the Act.

People are saying that the cap has been effectively abandoned. Is this the case?
The Government has said that they are firmly committed to implementing the cap on care costs system. The additional time will be used to consider what else can be done to help people plan and prepare for the costs of care as well as considering feedback on how the system may be improved. This has been a difficult decision but one that has been taken in response to genuine concerns from stakeholders.

When will the appeals system for care and support be introduced – will this be delayed until 2020?
The Government will make a further announcement on the new appeals system following the Spending Review in the Autumn. The Chancellor set out the timetable for the Spending Review on Tuesday 21 July. He set out that the Review will be published on 25 November. The timetable for appeals implementation will be confirmed after this date. In the meantime, those using care and support will continue to be able to make use of the existing complaints system and ultimately, the Local Government Ombudsman.

What is happening with proposals to introduce direct payments in residential care?
The Direct Payments in Residential Care trailblazer programme runs until October 2015 and the final evaluation report is expected in Summer 2016. The Department of Health has decided to wait for the final evaluation before taking a decision about whether or not to roll out to all local authorities.

Will you recycle the money saved into core social are services as requested by the LGA?
The forthcoming Spending Review will determine the level of funding available for adult social care.

What will be different in four years' time?
The additional time will be used to ensure that everyone with a role in implementation is ready to introduce the new system in April 2020. The time will also be used to ensure that people can understand what it will mean for them and look at what more can be done to support people with the costs of care.

What happens next with the Care and Support Reform Programme?
The Care and Support Reform Board is meeting on 11 August and will be considering the impact of the Government's decision. It will look at options to continue supporting local authorities in implementation and embedding of phase one of the Care Act and will consider methods of capturing the learning and preparation that has already taken place for April 2016 changes.

Will the stocktakes continue?
This will be confirmed on 11 August but are likely to continue and will focus on embedding phase one of the Care Act.

What will happen to the money that has been set aside for implementation?
In light of the announcement to delay the reforms the Department of Health will shortly advise local authorities on what will occur with the implementation funding.

Will the response to the consultation on stage 2 of the Act still be published as originally intended? If so, is there a date for this?
The response to the consultation will be published in the autumn.

Working age adults: are all the rules including a nil-cap for under 25s deferred until 2020?
Yes, this has been deferred.

Daily living costs: is the principle of £230 as a daily living allowance deferred until 2020?
Yes, this has been deferred.

First party top-ups: does the deferment of the cap also mean first party top-ups by service users are deferred until 2020?
These are also delayed until further notice.

Minimum income disregard: what does the deferment mean for the equalisation of younger adults' disregard and those of pension credit age?
This is also delayed.