The gateway to community care services is a care assessment and access to this for claimants is vital. The government has introduced a single assessment procedure (SAP) for older people which combines the assessment for local authority social services with health needs guidance.
When the care assessment has been completed, the local authority will decide whether or not it should provide or arrange community care services under eligibility criteria set by each local authority. Local authorities are obliged to involve other departments in the assessment process such as welfare benefits, health, housing, transport, etc.
The assessment process will normally consist of three stages:
Assessment of need and circumstances.
Identifying needs to be dealt with by the local authority under its eligibility criteria.
Financial assessment, if appropriate.
Following a financial assessment in England, people with assets in excess of £23,000 are generally advised to make their own arrangements. The only exception is for residents who lack mental capacity and have no legal representatives.
Individuals entering residential long term care who own total assets under £23,000 in England and Northern Ireland, £22,000 in Wales and £22,500 in Scotland may be eligible for local authority funding. Eligibility is normally assessed by the individual’s inability to manage at least two activities of daily living such as mobility, washing, dressing, eating, toileting and transferring, say, from a chair into a bed.