Needs Assessments are carried out by social services to look at the additional needs a person has and to determine the extra provision from social care that they may need to support these. Social services are legally obliged to notify you one working day after receiving a request, whether they are going to assess. Once an assessment is carried out social services must decide whether the person is eligible for support. Under the Care Act the way in which social services decides whether a person is eligible is set by the national minimum threshold for eligibility, which will be consistent across England.
An individual will be eligible if they meet all of the following criteria:
- you have care and support needs as a result of a physical or mental condition
- because of those needs, you cannot achieve two or more of a set of outcomes set out in the Care Act – those outcomes include things which you might expect to achieve in your day-to-day life such as dressing, maintaining personal relationships, and working or going to school.
- as a result of not achieving those outcomes, there is a significant impact on your wellbeing.
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If a person is eligible a care plan or package should be put in place that outlines who is going to do what and when. This can include direct payments, transport, support in the home, shortbreaks services, overnight respite and some equipment.
In addition to a needs assessment a Carer’s Assessment can be requested, this should be carried out at the same time as the needs assessment or if you agree to defer you can request it later. This focuses on your needs as a parent carer and how this role impacts your overall wellbeing, health and other commitments such as work, education and relationships. Following an assessment the Local Authority will decide if you are eligible for support. This may be provided to either you or the individual with additional needs (i.e. additional respite days) in order to reduce the impact of caring on you.
Both Needs Assessments and Carers Assessments are completed annually however you and your family have a right to have a re-assessment at any time throughout the year if the needs of the person you care for change.