Care and support assessments

Your council's social services department can assess your care and support needs if you are finding it difficult to manage at home.

What are care and support assessments?

A care and support assessment is done by social services to look at what care and support they could provide for you. It's sometimes called a needs assessment.

They will review your personal circumstances such as what you can and can’t do around your home and then decide what help you might be eligible for.

You might be entitled to support because of:

  • old age
  • physical or learning disabilities
  • mental health problems
  • chronic illness
  • drug or alcohol dependency

Types of care and support services

Services provided in your home could include:

Alternatives to support at home might be moving to:

  • sheltered or supported housing
  • a residential or care home as a short-term option or permanently

Carer's assessments

Social services can also assess the needs of an unpaid carer who looks after you at home. They consider what can be done to support your carer, including if they need to have breaks from caring.

Find out more about a carer's assessment from Carers UK.

How to get a care and support assessment

You can ask social services for an assessment.

You could also be referred by your GP, a hospital social work team or another part of the council, such as the housing department.

Find out more about care and support services in your area through socialcareinfo.

How the assessment is done

The assessment could be done by a social worker during a home visit or over the phone. Or you can fill in an assessment form online. Social services should give you an idea of how long the process will take.

They may also speak to your doctor, occupational therapist or other medical professionals, if you agree.

If you are in an emergency, for example if you are severely disabled and homeless, you should be assessed urgently. Care and support can be provided while a full assessment takes place.

What happens after the assessment

Social services give you a care plan setting out which needs they will meet if they decide you are entitled to support. They must keep you involved in the planning process and try to get your agreement.

Social services will look at your income, savings and property to decide if you must contribute towards your care.

The value of your home can be counted only if you own it and you’re permanently moving into a care home. Even then it won’t be counted in certain circumstances, for example if your husband, wife or civil partner is living there when you moved to the care home.

Social services may make you payments so you can buy your own care and support.

Find out more about paying for care from Age UK.

You must be reassessed if your circumstances change, for example because your health has worsened or your income falls.

If the council refuse to help

Social services may not help you if they decide your needs are not high enough or are already being met by friends or family.

Social services should give you:

  • a written decision explaining why they can’t help
  • information about how to challenge their decision
  • advice about other support available

You can use the council's internal complaints procedure if you are unhappy with the:

  • way the assessment has been carried out
  • outcome of the assessment
  • services provided or not provided

Contact the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman if you are still not satisfied with the council's response.

Some decisions can also be challenged through the courts. Check if you’re eligible for help from a legal aid lawyer.


Last updated 01 Jun 2018 | © Shelter

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