Social care for adults in England Advice & Support for:
Paying for social care for adults in England
Community care services for adults are means tested. This means that how much help you get to pay for the support you need will depend on your income and savings.
The local authority must work out what services you need before doing a financial assessment. This is so that your ability to pay will not influence its decisions over what to provide.
If you are paying for your own support, you can still ask the local authority to arrange the support for you. It may charge you for this but is not allowed to charge more than it would for someone whose care it is funding.
Personal budgets and direct payments
If the local authority is going to fund some or all of your support, it will work out a ‘personal budget’ to pay towards the social care and support you need. You will be able to choose whether the council should use this budget to arrange services for you, or should give the funding to you, or your carer, as a direct payment. This can give you more flexibility over how your care and support is arranged and provided, and is called ‘self-directed support’.
If you get direct payments, you must use the money to pay for the support your assessment said you need and that meet what it says in your care plan. Here are some examples of what you might use direct payments for:
a personal assistant to support you at certain times or with certain tasks
someone to support you on holiday
a family member or a friend (usually, this mustn’t be someone who lives with you) to offer you support rather than a care worker from an agency.
If you have long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital (NHS continuing healthcare), you could also get a personal health budget.
Support for your carer
The Care Act 2014 gives carers of adults the same rights as those they care for – the right to an assessment, a care and support plan if they have eligible needs, and a personal budget. A carer can have a free carers assessment even if the local authority has assessed the person they care for as not being eligible for services, or if the person they care for doesn’t want their needs assessed.
If you disagree with your local authority’s decision not to pay for your care services, or you don’t think you’ve been offered enough support to meet your needs, or a service has been withdrawn, you can challenge the local authority's decision.