Information on changes to adult social care
Adult care and support services are changing because of new legislation known as The Care Act.
The act brings together all previous pieces of law relating to 'care and support services'. Care and support services include help with everyday things such as eating, washing, dressing, looking after your money, keeping active and being part of your community. The act also modernises or updates the law where it is needed.
What the Care Act means for you
The main changes introduced by the Care Act from April 2015 are:
- a care needs assessment to work out what help you need
- advocacy support to help you speak up if you need it
- a personal budget that you can use to arrange your own care and support services
- a carer's assessment if you are a carer who supports a family member or friend
- a national eligibility threshold - this means that your eligibility for care won't be affected by where you live.
Consistent level of care across England
For the first time, all councils in England will consider the same national level of care and support needs when we assess what help we can give to you.
This means if you receive care and support in Royal Greenwich, and want to move to another area in England, both councils will work together to make sure that there is no gap in your care when you move.
Control of your own decisions
If you receive care and support, you will be more in control of decisions that affect you and in putting together a care plan tailored to your needs.
Your plan will work out how you can do the things that are important to you and your family, with the right level of care and support.
You will also know how much it will cost to meet your needs and how much the council will contribute towards the cost. You will have more control over how that money is spent.
Support for emotional, mental and physical needs
Everyone's needs are different. They may be physical, mental or emotional. You may find that the support you need could be met by something going on in your local community, for example services organised by local charities or other support networks.
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.
Support for carers
In England, millions of us provide unpaid care or support to an adult family member or friend, either in our own homes or somewhere else.
'Caring' for someone covers lots of different things, like helping with their washing, dressing or eating, taking them to regular appointments or 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.
The right help at the right time
Carers may be eligible for support, such as a direct payment to spend on the things that make caring easier, or practical support, like arranging for someone to step in when you need a short break.
You may prefer just to be put in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to.
The council of the person you care for can help you find the right support and you can ask them for a carer's assessment.
Assessing your wellbeing
A carer's assessment will look at the different ways that caring affects your life and work out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing will be at the heart of this assessment.
As a result of the assessment, you may be eligible for support. We will also offer you advice and guidance to help you with your caring responsibilities and help you look after your own wellbeing.
You can have a carer's assessment even if the person you care for does not get any help from the council, and they will not need to be assessed.
From April 2015 deferred payment agreements will be available across the whole country. This means that people should not have to sell their homes in their lifetime to pay for their care, as they have sometimes had to do in the past.
Choosing a deferred payment agreement
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 costs. If you are eligible, we will help to pay your care home bills on your behalf. You can delay repaying us until you choose to sell your home, or until after your death.
We may charge a small amount of interest on the amount owed to us, and there may also be a fee for setting this arrangement up. These will be set to cover the council’s costs and not to make a profit.
Considering your options
Deferred payment agreements will suit some people better than others, depending on their circumstances. If you are still living in your own home, you will not need a deferred payment agreement.
A deferred payment agreement is only one way to pay for care.
To find out more about the options available, you can speak to a financial adviser or seek advice from an independent organisation.