Local authorities have to assess any adult that appears to have a need for care and support. An assessment should happen even if the authority thinks that the adult is unlikely to have eligible needs or be eligible for local authority funding.

Assessments are for: An assessment is a chance for the local authority to find out about you, what is important to you, what needs you may have, what you may need support with and what having those needs met would mean to you (often referred to as outcomes). It also determines whether you meet the eligibility criteria for social care.
 
An assessment is a vital starting point for getting the right decision about what support you need. Assessments should be person-centred – you are at the centre of an assessment and all decisions.
 
Assessments can be in different formats depending on where you live and your level of need. For example, it may not be appropriate for someone with complex needs to have an assessment over the phone. It’s common for local authorities to use some sort of ‘triage’ process to decide which type of assessment would be appropriate. Assessments can be:
  • Face to face: A qualified assessor from the local authority – a social worker, care manager or another worker - visits your home or the ward if you are in hospital. 
  • A supported self-assessment: You complete an assessment (usually a form) or a council worker helps you to complete the form. 
  • A phone or online assessment: This is for someone who appears to have less complex needs (or to determine the need for a more detailed face to face or supported self-assessment).  
  • Joint assessment: Face to face but with professionals from other teams or services that you are in contact with or are receiving support from.  
You can have someone to support you during the assessment and at any stage. This could be a partner, family member or friend. It can help to have someone who provides you with any type of informal support.
 
If you do not have someone who could support you (and not having this support would mean that you are unable to fully take part in your assessment) then the local authority can provide an independent advocate for you.

An advocate is an independent professional who will support you to express your views and wishes and ensure that your voice is heard.  

Financial assessment (following a care needs assessment)

Local authorities are not allowed to charge for some types of care and support including intermediate care (which is short-term care provided free of charge for up to 6 weeks after you leave hospital) and community equipment (aids and minor adaptations) costing up to £1,000.
 
Local authorities are allowed to charge for care and support following needs assessments. Most people will have to pay something towards the cost. Your local authority will carry out a financial assessment to decide how much you can afford to pay. The financial assessment will determine your weekly contribution.
 
Local authorities normally publish their financial assessment policy on their websites. They have to follow national guidelines but are also able to apply their own flexibility. 

Financial assessment: basic principles

If you have savings/capital of over £23,250 then you will have to pay the full cost of your care and support.
 
Savings/capital below £14,250 are not taken into account
 
Any savings/capital between £14,250 and £23,250 are taken into account as tariff income. This means that for every £250 of savings/capital between those amounts a weekly income of £1 will be assumed.
 
Income from state benefits is taken into account including: Attendance Allowance, Constant Attendance Allowance and exceptionally severe disablement allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payments (care component).
 
The local authority has to leave you with a minimum level of income following charging. Contact your local authority for details.

The financial assessment takes into account the need for you to pay some household expenses such as rent, mortgage and council tax. 

Disability-related expenses

The extra costs you have to pay because of your disability or health condition for example community alarm, extra heating costs, extra or specialist clothing can also be taken into account. Local authorities will decide what they consider to be disability-related expenses. Find out how to get the best out of your assessment.

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