What is a care needs assessment?
Under the Care Act 2014 , anyone can request a care needs assessment if they have physical or mental impairments. This is carried out by Social services, (for people with a disability from birth/childhood they will be supported by the Lifelong Services team), in West Sussex. The assessment will result in a care and support plan, which details how the care needs will be met.
For most children and adults this is delivered by domiciliary care or for a personal assistant (PA) to provide a number of care hours per week and sometimes days at a day care centre. In more demanding cases this might require a care home or supported living accommodation.
The cost is calculated along with the income (such as benefits) of the person receiving care. West Sussex County Council (WSCC) will decide how much the person concerned will pay towards their care in a financial assessment, unless the person has over £23,250 in savings, as this would mean they pay for their care support themselves.
People who have been assessed to pay towards their can will then receive a charging order and are invoiced monthly.
In 2019, the cabinet member took the decision to reduce the amount the WSCC pay towards this care, but this was not implemented until January 2021. This has now resulted in more of the person’s ESA and PIP or other income being paid to the WSCC.
Many are now struggling financially with some going into debt to maintain the care they need or going without some of the care.
We are collecting data and case studies to present to WSCC to inform them of the hardships now being encountered. We have asked the Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee to scrutinise the decision and operation of the financial assessment service and the impact the decision has had on people. The committee have power to make strong recommendations and to hold services to account.