Are the eligibility criteria changing for community care services?

From April 2015, there are new eligibility criteria (see box) which set a minimum threshold.  If a carer meets all three they will have what’s called “eligible needs”.

After a financial assessment the council will tell the carer or cared-for person which needs the council will meet and how.

Will my cared-for person’s current care plan change?

As the eligibility criteria will change from April 2015, their care plan may change when they ask for a review or are re–assessed.

Currently there are 4 categories: critical, substantial, moderate and low.  Right now, the council will provide for people whose needs are considered critical or substantial, but the new criteria (which are not fully yet confirmed) are viewed by experts as closely resembling the substantial category so this may mean many more people qualify.

Will the person I care for be charged more for services under the Care Act?

There is nothing in the Act that says people will be charged more for residential or community care.  The financial assessments for both will be very similar to the pre-April 2105 process.

The person I care for is a self-funder.  Does the council have to provide anything for them?

From April 2015, Self Funders can ask the council to organise services on their behalf, but not residential care. The advantage of this is that the council may get better rates than you can privately.  The disadvantage of this could be that the council can charge a fee.

Another change from April 2015 is that the council must provide self-funders with information & advice, which they weren’t obliged to do before.

Did the cap on care costs start from April 2015?

No.  This will start from 2020.

Do Self Funders need to do anything to prepare for the changes from April 2015?

No.  But when Government confirms the cap, ask the council for a needs assessment or a re-assessment before April 2016, because:

A) you may qualify for help for the first time or

B) You may qualify for more help than you’re currently receiving

Councils may start needs assessments as early as November ‘15.

Will I have to pay for services provided to me as a carer?

Previously, Enfield Council has never charged carers for services provided as a result of a carers assessment.

FOR THE FIRST TIME – CHARGING FOR CARERS has been included in Enfield Council’s Charging Policy!  This will only affect carers who have more than £23,250 in savings.  If you have a joint account e.g. with your partner/spouse, only half the total amount of savings will be taken into account.

Enfield Carers Centre strongly believes that carers are already often under immense emotional and/or financial strain because of their caring responsibilities and it is well known that carers are saving the Council and NHS thousands by providing unpaid care.

Please do not let the possibility of charging put you off asking for a carers assessment.  Our Carers Assessment Officers will help you identify what support and services could help you.  Many of the Carers Centre support services are without charge and could help improve your health and wellbeing as well as ensure you are able to enjoy a life outside your caring responsibilities wherever possible.