Social Care Assessment and Eligibility - How
How can I get a social care assessment?
This section covers:
You can refer yourself for a needs assessment. You can call your LA, write to them, visit the office or go on their website. You might also get referred for an assessment by a health professional that knows you, such as your GP or community psychiatric nurse (CPN).
The needs assessment
Your LA is responsible for your assessment. Social services will assess you to see how your illness affects you. This is called a ‘needs assessment’. They will assess your social care needs and the impact they have on your family or support network.
Your assessment must include:
- how your needs affect your wellbeing, (see here)
- what you want to do in your day to day life, and
- if social care would help you do what you want to do.
The person assessing you needs to think about the following:
- The support you may need that is not provided by social care.
- Any support you need to prevent needs (see here).
- Any advice and information that would help your needs (see here)
Before an assessment you can ask your LA for copies of the questions that you will be asked.
Your LA can assess your needs in the following ways:
|Face to face
||An assessor will do the assessment with you in person. This can be done at your home.
||You can do the assessment yourself. The LA can send you the form or you can download it from their website. You should only do this if you want to and you feel like you can. If you need support to fill out the form then the LA must help you.
|Online or telephone assessment
||If you are reviewing your support plan or you do not have many needs you can do it online or over the phone.
||You can have an assessment with more than one agency at the same time. This is so that you don’t have to go through many assessments.
||You and your carer can have an assessment at the same time.
The assessment process starts from when the LA starts to collect information from you. You will need to tell them as much information about yourself either by completing a form or they may contact you by phone.
For example, they will ask you about:
- your abilities and strengths
- your communication style, and
- any support you might need to do the assessment like an advocate.
This is to make sure that they can make the assessment personal to you.
If you find the assessment difficult to understand you may get an independent advocate. The LA has to arrange this if:
- you have substantial difficulty in dealing with the assessment, and
- there is no other suitable person to help you.
A suitable person could be a friend or relative. A person who gets paid to care for you is not a suitable person.
An advocate can help you with the assessment and speak on your behalf to tell the LA about your needs.
If you decide to have a supported self assessment the LA needs to:
- make sure you know how to get in touch with them,
- agree a timescale you will do the assessment by,
- make sure you can ask for them to help with the assessment at any point, and
- make sure you understand what parts of the assessment you will do and what parts the LA will do.
Can I refuse an assessment?
You do have the right to refuse a social care assessment. But if you refuse an assessment, the LA does not have to do one. The LA has to check that you:
- have mental capacity to refuse the assessment, and
- are not at risk of abuse or neglect.
If you change your mind later then the LA must offer you an assessment.
Who will do the assessment?
A professional from the LA will do the assessment. This might be a social worker, occupational therapist or rehabilitation officer. The LA has to make sure that anyone who is doing assessment is fully trained.
Professionals should have training to do assessments with people with mental illnesses. The LA can ask other services to do assessments or offer support and care; this is discussed here.
Social services and the Community Mental Health Team (CMHT)
The LA can get other services to do assessments and give you support and care. They may do this if they think the other service has more experience in your area of need. For example, they may ask a
community mental health team to do an assessment with you.
The LA is still responsible for the assessment and your support. This means that if you are not happy with the assessment then you need to tell the LA.
What if I am under the Care Programme Approach (CPA)?
If you have a complex mental health condition, you may get support under the Care Programme Approach (CPA) or the Proactive Care Programme. Under CPA, you will have a ‘care coordinator’ who manages your care.
If you have social care needs the LA and the NHS have to work together to meet your needs. They can do a joint assessment. They will have to have a multi-agency approach to support you.
You can find more information about CPA in our ‘Care Programme Approach’ here.
NHS Continuing Healthcare (CHC)
Some people with long-term complex health needs get free social care arranged and funded by the NHS. This is known as NHS continuing healthcare. If your health care is paid for by CHC then your LA is not responsible for your support and care needs.
Can I get social care if I already get Section 117 Aftercare?
Section 117 aftercare should cover the cost of meeting your mental health care needs. If you have social care needs as well then you can still be assessed and supported by the LA.
If you have been discharged from hospital under sections 3, 37, 45A, 47 or 48 of the Mental Health Act 1983 then you are entitled to free aftercare, known as section 117 aftercare. If you are not sure what section you were detained under you should contact your GP or CMHT for this information.
Section 117 aftercare is there to help meet your needs due to your mental illness, and reduce the chance of your condition getting worse so you don’t have to go back into hospital.
Section 117 aftercare can pay for certain types of housing, free prescriptions, services in your home or in a day centre, and help to get supported employment.
You can find more information about ‘Section 117 aftercare’ here.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays