How Social Services Can Help You
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The Social Services department at your local authority is there to help you, whether or not you need Local Authority assistance with your care funding. If you are privately funded you may find a reluctance to help at some authorities but persevere, the information they can give you can be valuable.
Remember, your social worker is a professional who has significant experience of people in a similar situation to your own.
The Section 47 Assessment
This is the first step to choosing and funding your care, whether or not you need local authority funding.
This will set you off in the right direction with choosing your care. The name relates to Section 47 of the National Health Service and Community Care Act 1990 and states that if it appears to the local authority that a person for whom they may provide or arrange the provision of community care services might need such services they are to assess the needs of that person.
The assessment also opens a file at Social Services, which may be useful if you need their help or local authority funding in the future.
The assessment may suggest ways of organising yourself so that a move to a care home can be avoided. the assessment should cover:
- ~ Support for you in your own home including day care, live-in care, respite care and the provision of equipment or adaptations to your home to allow you to remain there.
- ~ A move to more suitable accommodation, such as sheltered housing.
- ~ A move to another private household, such as living with relatives.
- ~ Residential or nursing care.
- ~ Long stay care in hospital
You can apply for an assessment by approaching your local authority directly (find their contact details on their website), through your GP or another health professional that you deal with.
The local authority has a duty of care to provide an assessment when it appears that someone may be in need of community care services that they can provide.
The Means Test
or financial assessment.
If you think you have less than £23,250 (excluding the value of your home - see below) you should ask Social Services for a means test. You will normally be visited by a Social Worker or a Financial Officer from your local authority, who will ask about your income, savings and investments and will usually want to see proof of what you own.
Using the information you give, the value of your assets will be assessed to see whether you qualify for local authority care funding, or the twelve week property disregard (below). There is more detail about local authority funding on our state benefits page.
The Means Test and Your Property
In some situations your property may be excluded from the means test. These are usually:
- 1. If your spouse or civil partner will continue to live there, regardless of their age.
- 2. If a relative aged over 60 will continue to live in the property
- 3. When an incapacitated relative still lives in the property
- 4. Where there is a child under 16 living in the property and you are legally responsible for them.
- 5. When you intend to receive care in the property.
The Twelve Week Property Disregard and the Deferred Payments Scheme
This is described in greater detail on our state benefits page. The Section 47 assessment is the gateway to this benefit. Only if you are assessed as needing care will the local authority provide this benefit.
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