News story

Civil/crime news: changes to care legislation and financial eligibility rules

Changes to means assessment guidance in England following implementation of Care Act 2014.

We’re updating our guidance on financial eligibility and means assessments to take account of changes affecting England introduced on 1 April 2015.

Separate legislation will come into effect for care issues in Wales in April 2016 – see further information below.

What this means for providers

Under Part 1 of the Care Act 2014, local authorities are now required to make a direct payment to carers to support them in providing the relevant care needed.

This type of payment to carers will be disregarded when determining an individual’s eligibility for legal aid.

The majority of part 1 of the Care Act 2014, including direct payments to carers, has now been implemented.

The remaining parts of the legislation will come into effect from 1 April 2016.

Further information on this will be provided at a later date.

Where can I find out about this change?

Details about the direct payments to carers can be found in sections 31 to 33 of Part 1 of the Care Act 2014.

You should also note the changes we have made to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), civil and criminal legal aid regulations and guidance to include references to the Care Act 2014. These are outlined below.

Part 1, schedule 1 of LASPO

Amended to include reference to the Care Act 2014 in paragraph 6 (3), and also remove reference to section 254 and schedule 20 of the National Health Service Act 2006 (functions of local social service authorities).

Regulations amended to support the introduction of direct payment for carers from 1 April 2015.

Regulations amended to support the introduction of direct payment for carers from 1 April 2015.

Changes to guidance

References to sections 31 to 33 of the Care Act 2014 have been added in to a number of Legal Aid Agency (LAA) guidance sources. These include:

  • LAA means assessment guidance
  • controlled work guide to determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation - April 2014
  • civil representation guide to determining financial eligibility for certificated work - April 2014
  • criminal legal aid manual

Links are provided below.

Further information

Care Act 2014

Social Services and Well-Being (Wales) Act 2014

Civil legal aid: means testing – see:

  • guide to determining financial eligibility for controlled work and family mediation April 2014
  • guide to determining financial eligibility for certificated work

Criminal legal aid manual