Vulnerable people who require social care will face new assessments to determine their financial support needs from April 1.
Registered carers will also be among the thousands who will be reassessed by health care professionals.
The amount people will have to personally spend on care for themselves will be capped at £72,000 over the length of their lifetime. Individuals with more than £23,250 of savings or investments will now not be eligible for care.
The radical changes are part of the government’s Care Act 2014, dubbed ‘the most significant social care reform in 60 years’.
It comes into force nationally from April 1 this year, though West Sussex County Council (WSCC), in charge of implementing the new service, insist it won’t be done with a ‘big bang’ approach.
At the council’s health and adult social care select committee (hasc) meeting last Wednesday, Amanda Rogers, director of adult services, said: “The whole act has wellbeing at it’s core. It’s not about red tape and procedural change, a renewed ethos of care is being cultivated for everyone.”
The government has given WSCC nearly £8m to implement the changes and extra health care professionals will be taken on to help carry out up to 15,000 assessments.
Cllr Peter Catchpole, cabinet member for health and adult services, said the focus would be on assessing people at the earliest opportunity to make clear what support would be available to them.
“It’s important people and their families know early on what is available to them so they can plan their care needs,” he said.
Those who are required to pay for care will be offered a deferred payment scheme, with the amount owed payable when the individual dies.
This would incur an interest charge, which WSCC is proposing at 3.25 per cent.