The Care Act is here

The Care Act reforms are here from today (1st April 2015) and people in Somerset are set to benefit from the changes.

The new care reforms will affect people who receive care and support in Somerset and their carers.

From today, carers will be entitled to have an assessment of their needs and may be able to get more help to support them in their caring role or to have a life outside of caring.

Mel Lock, Operations Director for Adults Services at Somerset County Council, said: “We have always recognised that carers do a fantastic job and need support. Now the Care Act puts in legislation that carers are entitled to an assessment, even if the person they care for does not receive help from the County Council. It’s a big change and one that will benefit many people.”

The Care Act has also introduced a national eligibility criteria that means wherever people live in the country, if their needs meet the threshold, they will be eligible for support. And a national deferred payments scheme will start from April which means that people don’t have to sell their homes in their lifetime to fund their care costs.

Mel Lock continued: “The Care Act will make things fairer for everyone and aims to give people more choice and control over their care. People will be able to move across the country and get the same level of care and support, ending the national postcode lottery.

“People will have more control over their care. Everyone the Council supports will have a personal budget so they can clearly see what the money is being spent on and make changes if they wish. We are required, as set out in the Care Act, to give people clear information and advice so they can make choices about their care.

“We are doing this and going even further by creating a new website called Somerset Choices, due to launch in June, that will allow people to search for local care and support services.

“The Care Act makes the system fairer and puts the needs and wellbeing of people, and their carers, at the heart of every decision.”

To find out more about the Care Act visit: www.somerset.gov.uk/careact. On the website there is a useful ‘Question and Answer’ document that will help answer most questions or call 0300 123 2224.