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Care costs cap delayed until 2020

Posted on 22/07/2015

One of the key changes to the way that you pay for care and support needs has been delayed until 2020. The new ‘care cap’, which was intended to limit the amount of money that you have to pay for care in your lifetime, was expected to come into force next April.

The care cap has been one of the main policies that the government has been promoting as a way to overhaul the care system. It sets a maximum cost of £72,000 that elderly people over the age of 65 and young adults with disabilities have to pay towards their care. There are limitations to what is included within this care cap and when you start paying towards it, but it was designed to ease the high care costs of those with substantial care needs. It was introduced as part of the Care Act, which came into force in April this year.

However, this has been put back until at least 2020, while the policy is reviewed, though the Department of Health says that it is  “fully committed” to introducing the care cap.

The delay comes after local authorities expressed concern over implementing the care cap. Costs for care staff are expected to rise in order to meet the ‘living wage’, and there is already a shortfall in council funding for health and social care. The Local Government Association (LGA) expressed concern in a letter to the government, saying that councils backed the cap, but were not yet in a position to be able to act on it.

The response from the government to the LGA, in a letter written by Care and Support Minister Alistair Burt, says: “Like you, this Government continues to be firmly committed to implementing the cap on care costs system to protect people from the risk of catastrophic care costs as recommended by the Commission on Funding for Care and Support. But like you, we also know that Government is about taking the hard choices and not proceeding to simply meet a deadline, but listening to the experts in the system and responding to the challenges they set out whilst also tackling the hard task of balancing the books.”

If you have care needs and are worried about paying to meet them, read our guide on whether you can get your care funded by your local authority and some advice on other ways to pay for your care and support needs. 

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