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Can I get my care funded?

People with some form of frailty due to old age, disability or a long-term health problem often need some assistance to ensure that their basic day-to-day needs are met and that they can continue to live a full and satisfying life. We refer to this as 'care and support needs'.

The system that helps deliver this care and support can seem very complex and hard to get to grips with. You're the Boss believes that it is important to try and understand how things work so that people in need can stay in control of their lives. We hope that the information provided on this site will help.

People often feel that the job of helping people with this belongs to the council, but it is not quite that simple. Councils with Social Services responsibilities do have a number of legal requirements in relation to care; this means County Councils and Unitary Councils - try our Postcode Checker to find out which council provides Social Services in your area if you are not sure. Their legal duties are to assess anyone who asks them to assess their care and support needs and then ensure that those needs are met if they are judged as sufficiently serious. Councils then assess whether individuals are required to contribute to or pay for their own care.

This chart will help you find the appropriate information: 

Is the need serious? Arrow indicating No Council duty to provide guidance only
Do you pass the means test Arrow indicating No You will need to pay for or towards care
Arrow indicating Yes
Council will fund care

The criteria for eligible need

Councils have to use a national set of criteria to determine whether need is sufficiently serious to require them to act, but they can choose how far down the scale of need they are required to provide a response to. There is also a degree of inconsistency in how the national criteria are interpreted. Someone with a particular need may therefore get some help arranged by the council if they live in one area, but not in another. The legal position is very complex and if you need detailed advice we suggest you consult Care and Health Law.

Means testing 

Most forms of care paid for by the council are means-tested and even if the council is obliged to ensure that care is provided the person concerned may be required to contribute to all or some of the cost. Find out if this is likely by taking our Funding Checker wizard, or if you are concerned with how your care needs can be paid for look here.

The first time that someone comes into contact with Social Services, for example because they have fallen and spent some time in hospital, they may well be entitled to a short period of help to enable them to recover their ability to cope. This is called a number of different things, but is frequently referred to as reablement or 'home from hospital'.

If the council does not think that someone has sufficient level of need, this doesn't mean they think you do not need any help, and they should give anyone who approaches them advice and information about where else they can get help with care.

If you do get help from the council, increasingly this will be in the form of what is called a Personal Budget, which means a sum of money related to identified needs that the person concerned then decides how to spend.

Whether you get a Personal Budget or are dependent on your own resources, there are plenty of care options that might be available and affordable to help you continue to live independently. It is worth spending some time looking at what is around, and then making a plan.

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