From October 2023, the government will introduce a cap on how much individuals must spend on care. This measure provides much-needed protection for people’s finances while still offering them access to various types of care options.
Local authorities must also issue regular care account statements to keep people updated on their progress towards reaching the cap and help them plan ahead. These will serve as an ideal forum to exchange general information and advice.
What counts towards the cap?
If you are assessed as needing care and support in your own home, such as assistance with washing, dressing or eating and managing health problems, you will be eligible for Scotland’s free Personal Care program. However, you may still have to cover some accommodation and living expenses like utility bills or room and board in a care home.
The cost of this will depend on your income and savings, as well as any assessed needs. The local authority then makes a financial assessment to identify capital and assets.
Your financial means test results will determine if you qualify as either self-funding or state-funded, depending on whether or not you possess sufficient savings and assets. If so, this may mean that even after reaching the cap, you can afford all of your care and support needs.
People need protection and peace of mind, giving them the assurance to retain more assets when paying for healthcare. Furthermore, this provides a clear picture of what counts towards the cap and what assistance the state may provide.
Daily living costs (DLCs)
A daily living cost (DLC) is an additional fee charged by a care home provider on top of base costs. The amount you pay depends on how much assistance you need and the quality of service offered.
For instance, if you require regular assistance with washing and dressing, your care may be billed at a higher rate than someone who just requires some incontinence assistance.
In 2021-2022, the government has set DLCs at £200 per week with the goal of making them affordable for all people – even those on lower incomes.
The goal is to guarantee that the system is fair and transparent – not favoring those with more money. To guarantee this, we have implemented a series of measures that guarantee an equitable cap applies across all individuals.
First-party top ups
Self-funders or those eligible for means testing will receive a personal budget (IPB) to determine how much they must pay towards care home fees. In addition to setting what costs count toward the cap, IPBs give individuals more control over how they meet their eligible care and support needs.
It is essential for people to make informed choices about their preferred accommodation without feeling pressured, so they can remain in a setting where their care needs are met at an affordable cost. However, in certain instances where someone’s top up payment cannot be met any longer, it may be appropriate for them to relocate into a less costly setting.
Due to the cost of maintaining a preferred choice of accommodation, if someone becomes unable to cover additional expenses there is no assurance they will be able to remain in their current accommodation. Therefore, having an established process in place that allows local authorities to refuse paying a top up for someone’s chosen accommodation may be beneficial.
Scotland provides free personal and nursing care up to a certain limit for those needing care home accommodation. However, due to financial constraints on local authority budgets, residential care has become more expensive, necessitating self-funders to cover any shortfall.
Abbey Court care home in Easterhouse, Glasgow, recently noted that while the government is committed to free personal and nursing care, local authorities are not adequately providing it. He noted that it’s essential that care funding keeps up with the true cost of caring for those with complex needs or end-of-life conditions.
A cap is being introduced on care costs to guarantee that self-funders don’t have to spend more than £86,000 for personal care throughout their lifetime. This will not only reduce the amount of money paid toward care, but it may also encourage more self-funders to request that their local authority arranges their care and support services.