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An assessment is the vital starting point for getting the right decision about what support you need. Many disabled people feel that they have to put up with too many assessments. But if it’s possible your care may be cut or it’s not suitable or enough to meet your needs, then it is very important to have a good assessment. This will help make sure that you get the support you need.
Make sure you get a copy of the completed assessment forms and care plan. The local authority must give you one. These should give clear written details of:
Think about whether they have recognised all your needs and difficulties. Is there any important information they have not taken into account? There may be something they have overlooked, for example, a doctor’s letter. If so, you or your advocate or adviser can have an informal discussion with them. See if you can persuade them to change their mind without making a formal complaint. If this doesn’t work, you will need to complain – see how to complain.
Sometimes a local authority will refuse to carry out an assessment. If so, they are not giving you an opportunity to explain your needs and to ask for any extra help. It should be easy to get an assessment or reassessment when you need one.
Once you are sure that the local authority has got all the right information, and it has recorded all the necessary points in the assessment documents and care plan, you will be able to see what support they are offering and why. This will include details of which of your needs they say are ‘eligible’ for help and which are not. See eligibility for more information
If necessary, you can complain about the failure to do an assessment, or to provide you with all the necessary information in the assessment documents and care plan – see how to complain.
The law requires the local authority to provide a detailed explanation for the outcome of your new assessment. If they have missed out any of the information that should be included in your assessment and care plan, ask them for this in writing urgently.
If they have missed out or not properly appreciated any of your needs or difficulties, ask them to correct this. Make sure that the outcomes that are set out in your care plan are the ones you want, so that it's clear how needs can be met in a way that promotes your well-being.
Think about the needs identified by the local authority and their decision about whether your needs are eligible or not. Have they wrongly decided that you will still be able to meet your outcomes? Tell them exactly what the impact will be on your well-being if you do not have support for that need. Focus on the worst case scenario that they need to take into account. Not just how things are when you are having a good day.
You may have needs and outcomes that will only have a moderate impact on your well-being to start with but, if they are not met and are allowed to get worse, they are likely to become much more serious. Ask the council to meet these needs to stop you getting into a crisis. Explain that, although they may save money to start with, in the longer term they may use more money than they save if they ignore these needs.
Ask them to respond within 7 days and reinstate your previous care package until they can reply.
If this doesn’t get the result you want, you can complain to the Ombudsman or get legal advice about possible court action – see what next?
This guide was updated for Scope by Advicenow in March 2015. It applies to England only.
It is not meant as a substitute for legal advice.
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