The government has announced a wide-ranging reform of the way social care is paid for. This is due to come into force in October 2023.

The Department of Health and Social care has put together information about the reforms and you can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the changes via their website.

The reforms are set out in a white paper, which is a government proposal. This means that these reforms are not yet confirmed in law – the government will have to pass a bill through the House of Commons first.

Therefore, some of these proposals may change between now and October 2023.

There are three main reforms that may affect you as someone who receives social care.

Care thresholds

At the point you start to receive care, we have to determine the amount of money you must contribute towards your care costs.

We calculate your income (private and state pension) plus capital (investments, savings and properties) against a set of national criteria.

As a general rule:

  • if you currently have savings and assets that total more than £23,250, then you are required to make the maximum contribution towards your care
  • If your assets and savings total less than £14,250, then the amount you are required to contribute towards your care, is based on your income
  • If your assets and savings are between those two figures, then you are asked to make a contribution towards the cost of your care – which is lower than the maximum amount, based on your exact financial position

New thresholds

From October 2023, the government is proposing to introduce new thresholds.

  • the upper capital limit (at which you need to pay the maximum contribution towards the cost of your care) is rising from £23,250 to £100,000
  • the lower capital limit (at which the amount you will be required to contribute towards your care, is based on your income) is rising from £14,250 to £20,000
  • if your assets and savings falls between those two figures then, like today, you will be asked to make a contribution to the cost of your care – which is lower than the maximum amount, based on your exact financial position

Charging cap

The government is introducing a charging cap of £86,000 from October 2023. This cap is the maximum amount that you will be asked to contribute over your lifetime, for care you receive from social care services.

Therefore, if you are asked to pay a contribution towards the cost of your care then once you have paid a cumulative total of £86,000 for your care, you will be required to make no further contribution.

We will therefore create a ‘social care account’ for you. The account will keep track of the contributions you make, adding and totalling each type of care over the years. You will be able to see your own account to understand your total and we will tell you as your contributions reach £86,000 (in total). If you are in residential care, then the amount that will be added to your charging gap, does not include your daily accommodation expenses – it is just the total for the actual care you receive.

Once you reach that total, we will make arrangements for your care to continue – free of charge from that point, to you.

These new accounts will start in October 2023 and, at that point, your total – or ‘balance’, will begin at zero. If you have made contributions towards the cost of your care prior to October 2023, these will not be included in your starting total.

People who pay in full for their care

If the total of your savings and assets is over £23,250 (and post these reforms over £100,000), then you are required to pay the maximum contribution towards the cost of your care. Many people in this situation choose to arrange their own care privately.

From October 2023, the care reforms will allow people in this position (who pay the maximum contribution towards the cost of care) to ask us to commission their care for them. The primary reason someone may choose this option is to take advantage of a more preferential rate that we (as the council) can arrange that care for.

Summary

The reforms will have a profound effect on how you pay for social care and as we get closer to October 2023, we will be able to tell you exactly what will change and how we can help you through the reforms.

As above, it is possible that the government may change some of these reforms or the dates they will come into force. Please keep checking this page or the government’s own web pages to keep up to date with the latest news about the reforms.

If you have any questions relating to these reforms, please email ssv_enquiries@warrington.gov.uk.