What if I don’t have needs for care and support now, but may in the future?
The law on social care says that local authorities should think about how they can prevent your needs for care and support from developing. So if you don’t currently have needs, but you're likely to develop them, you may wish to contact your local authority to tell them you want a needs assessment.
What if my needs for care and support are low?
The local authority must assess you even if it believes you may not be eligible for care and support. They have a duty to assess you simply if it appears that you may have needs. Even if you're found not to have any, the assessment process may still help you, for example by providing useful information, or suggesting other types of community support.
How quickly will I be assessed?
There's no set timescale for the assessment process. The local authority should give you some sort of indication of how long it should take for your assessment to be completed. Normally it shouldn't take longer than four to six weeks, unless your assessment is complex.
How is the assessment carried out?
An assessment can be carried out in a number of ways:
- Face-to face assessment. Your assessment will most likely be carried out face-to-face with a social worker. The Code of Practice to the Care Act says that, in England, all assessments of people with mental health problems should take place face-to-face.
- Supported self-assessment. This is when you fill out a questionnaire which the local authority gives you. This should cover exactly the same information as a face-to-face assessment. The local authority should make sure that the information you fill in is an accurate reflection of your circumstances.
- Online or phone assessment. This is when the assessment is carried out online or on the phone.
- Joint assessments. This is when your needs assessment is carried out at the same time as the assessment of another adult, for example another member of your household, or a carer’s assessment.
- Combined assessments. This is when a needs assessment is carried out at the same time as another assessment, for example an assessment for continuing healthcare (CHC).
Who will assess me?
You'll be assessed by someone who has the right skills, training and experience. This may be:
- a social worker
- an occupational therapist
- someone else who is suitably qualified.
What if my needs change from day to day or month to month?
Your condition may mean that you have good times when you don't need much care and support, and bad times when your needs are greater. Your assessment should take account of the fact that your needs may fluctuate (change in a way you can't predict).
This means that the local authority might:
- assess you over a longer period, so that they can get an accurate overall picture of what your needs are and how they impact your life
- carry out the assessment over a shorter period, but only if they make sure that they have an accurate picture of what your overall needs are.
What will I be asked about at a needs assessment?
The assessment will focus on your wellbeing.
- your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
- being protected from abuse and neglect
- your participation in work, education, training or recreation
- your social and economic wellbeing
- your domestic, family and personal relationships
- how suitable your living accommodation is
- your contribution to society.