Community Care Assessment
If you feel that the person you are looking after requires support ask your local social services for a community care assessment.
If, after this has been done, it is decided that the person you're looking after needs support,
they will be given a means-tested financial assessment to assess whether or not they have to contribute towards the cost of the services.
It is up to the local authority whether or not the services provided are free of charge.
However there are certain services which the local authority is not allowed to charge for.
If the local authority does make charges it needs to follow the Department of Health’s fairer charging guidance (PDF, 161kb).
Direct payments are payments which are made either to you or the person requiring care in order to purchase care services directly.
The idea behind direct payments is that it allows greater flexibility for you to choose the services that you need.
How can I get direct payments?
If you would like to receive direct payments to manage your care you will need to apply to social services.
They will then do an assessment which may be one of the following:
- a community care assessment for the person you're looking after
- an assessment for a child under the Children Act, or
- your own carer's assessment
If your application is successful and it is deemed that you require additional care services you will then have the right to request direct payments.
This means that you will pay for the service yourself instead of having it organised for you by social services.
If you are already receiving support from social services, you can ask to receive direct payments in order to organise the care yourself.
Who will receive the direct payments?
In the majority of case it is either the person who receives care or the main carer who will receive the funding.
It is possible for another person to receive direct payments if the person who is eligible for them is not deemed to be able to manage them.
Direct payments are not obligatory and if you change your mind at any time simply contact your local social services and they will arrange the services instead.
It is also possible to have direct payments for some of the services you require whilst social services continue to provide support in the form of other services.
Are direct payments difficult to manage?
If you or the person you look after decide to receive direct payments, there are several things which you need to do. These are:
- To keep a record for how and when the money is spent.
- If you pay for a care worker you will be their employer. This involves all the legal responsibilities associated with this.
In some cases local organisation might be able to offer support in managing direct care payments.
Are there any restrictions on direct care payments?
It is only possible to spend direct payments to provide the care that the person has been assessed as needing.
If you spend it on something else social services can ask for it back.
If your needs change and you require additional support you should contact social services for a new assessment.
This means that if you get direct payments, you may need to make a financial contribution towards the direct payment.
Your local social services should tell you if you'll need to contribute, and how much.
Their charges must be fair and they must follow specific rules.
Health Assessment for Carers
Did you know that many carers have a legal right to have an assessment of their own needs?
This is your opportunity to discuss what help you require in order to maintain your own well-being whilst caring for
someone else and managing other responsibilities in your life such as work or family.