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May 2024
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Social Care

Benefits: where to get the information

Benefits in the UK change according to where you live.  There are different rules for people living in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  It is best for you to check if there is any support for you to apply for.

Check out the Citizens Advice


Personal Budget


When you or someone you care about starts to have difficulty managing daily tasks at home and needs extra support and care, it can feel daunting and you might not know what help is available or how to arrange it.

The care and support system is complex and can be confusing, with many organisations involved in assessment, arrangement and provision of care.

The rules on how you pay for care and support can also be difficult to understand and it’s important to know what you are entitled to.

However, there is help and advice available and, with a bit of planning, it is possible to find good care which helps your needs.

What social care services are available?

The type of services available to help with care and support needs can include:

  • help at home with shopping, laundry and cleaning
  • intensive home care such as washing, dressing and preparing a meal
  • 24-hour care in a care home or a housing with care scheme (also known as sheltered accommodation).

If you do qualify for local authority support, instead of receiving directly-funded and arranged services, you can ask for cash payments so that you can arrange your own care.

You may also be entitled to the provision of equipment and adaptations to help make your home more suitable to meet your needs.

Where do I start?

Your first port of call should be your Local Authority (via Gov UK) – contact its social services department or contact centre.

Staff will be able to let you know about the local rules which operate in your area (every Local Authority can decide what level of eligibility for care they will provide as well as its charging policy).

Local authorities will also provide an up-to-date list of local providers and can signpost to services. Be prepared to answer questions about your care and support needs, as well as your finances.

Assessment of needs

You should also be offered an assessment of your needs. This means that a social worker (or sometimes an occupational therapist or nurse) will ask you questions about what you find difficult on a daily basis.

This assessment will be used to work out what your levels of need are and what support can be provided.

A needs assessment must always lead to the production of an agreed care and support plan. You should be provided with a copy of this plan.

Qualifying care needs

Most Local Authorities provide care for people who are categorised as having ‘critical’ or ‘substantial’ levels of need.

These are the top two categories in the banding system (called Fair Access to Care Services) that is used by Local Authorities.

The bottom two categories are ‘moderate’ and ‘low’. Generally councils won’t provide services for people whose needs fall into these lower categories. If you’re in this position, you can still find services locally, but you’ll need to pay for these from your income or using savings.

Eligible needs

If you have eligible needs the Local Authority has a legal duty to meet them. To meet your needs the council may allocate a personal budget for your care.

This means that you can choose to have services arranged on your behalf or a cash payment paid to you to arrange your own care. This is called a Direct Payment.

As part of your assessment you should receive appropriate advice about how your needs should be met.

The new personal budget system is intended to allow service users greater choice and control over how their needs are met and funding arrangements.

Finances and how it affects charges for support

Care arranged by a Local Authority is not usually free. Your Local Authority will therefore ask about your finances and income.

Paying for care and support at home

There are national rules for charging care home fees which means you will pay the full cost of care if you have more than £23,250 in savings (the limits vary slightly in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland).

If you own your own home and no one else lives in it when you move into a care home, the council is able to take into account the value of the property and use it to pay for care home fees.

In charging for home care, most Local Authorities will use the £23,250 savings limit, but it can vary. However, the value of your property will not be taken into account.

Charges for care are complex, and you should seek more detailed advice from the Age UK advice line on 0800 169 6565.

It’s also very important to ensure that you get all of your benefits and entitlements. For example, there is a non means-tested benefit called Attendance Allowance which provides a weekly income to help meet additional costs which arise from a disability or difficulty with everyday activities.


Personal Health Budgets are for Who?

About personal health budgets


Personal health budgets are being introduced by the NHS to help people manage their care in a way that suits them. They have been piloted in a number of places across England and since October 2014, adults receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare and children in receipt of continuing care have had a right to have a personal health budget.

What is a personal health budget?

A personal health budget is an amount of money to support your identified health and wellbeing needs, planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to give people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

Personal health budgets work in a similar way to the personal budgets that many people are already using to manage and pay for their social care.

Together with your NHS team (such as a GP) you will develop a care plan. The plan sets out your personal health and wellbeing needs, the health outcomes you want to achieve, the amount of money in the budget and how you are going to spend it. You can use a personal health budget to pay for a wide range of items and services, including therapies, personal care and equipment. This will allow you more choice and control over the health services and care you receive.

You don’t have to change any healthcare or support that is working well for you just because you get a personal health budget.

Visit the peoplehub website, where people with a personal health budget and their families and carers can talk about their personal health budget experiences.

Who can have a personal health budget?

The first group to be able to have a personal health budget are adults getting NHS Continuing Healthcare, which is NHS-funded long-term health and personal care provided outside hospital. Children who are eligible for continuing care also have a right to have a personal health budget.

Local NHS organisations will be free to offer personal health budgets to other people if they think an individual will benefit. It is the government’s long-term aim, to introduce a right to a personal health budget for people who would benefit from it.

Can I have a personal health budget as well as a personal budget for social care and support?

Yes. If you already have a personal budget for care and support from social services and your NHS team agrees, you can also have a personal health budget and ask for both to be paid into the same account.

Do I have to have a personal health budget?

No. If having a personal health budget does not work for you, your local NHS will provide the care you need as it has always done.

What is the difference between a personal health budget, a personal budget, an individual budget and a direct payment?

  • A personal health budget is for your NHS healthcare and support needs.
  • A personal budget is for your social care and support needs.
  • An individual budget includes your social care and support needs plus other funding, such as independent living.
  • A direct payment is one way of managing these budgets, where you get the cash to buy the agreed care and support you need.

Assistance Dogs



Assistance Dogs are important for many different reasons.  Here is what to look for.

Does the dog’s jacket have the ADUK symbol?

Does it say Please do not distract? This is most important as it is a working dog not a pet.  This means the dog is focussed on its work and the Partner is dependent on that. Please ignore the dog. I know it is really hard, and they look so soft and touchable, but it is SO IMPORTANT that you ask permission. Distracting the dog makes it forget what it was doing.  Wait until the Partner gets the dog prepared to say hello, and then the dog can really enjoy the meeting of you.  Distraction stops the dog from working and limits its concentration.

Check out the information on Assistance Dogs If they are a member of  ADUK http:// they are a member of a coalition of assistance dog organisations that encourages the exchange of ideas and best practice amongst its members, raises awareness amongst the general public and promotes behavioural and legislative changes to ensure the freedom, independence and rights of its clients.

My Assistance Dog, Alucia, is trained by Canine Partners  but the ADUK website will give further information of other assistance dogs.  All members of ADUK hold registration documents which allows a dog to visit restaurants, and other food outlets. They are properly trained to work in areas pet dogs are not allowed to enter.

Social Services forms for Assessment

·       Overview Assessment

·       Person Led Assessment

·       Support Plan

·       Continuing Health Assessment

·       Financial Assessment

·       Indicative Amount Panel Approval

·       Fairer Charging, Financial Assessment

Personalisation for Me

As a Service User, I have been going through Personalisation.  I am already a user of Direct Payments, where I have chosen to employ my carers and manage the hours when I want, and if I need to change them I negotiate with the people I employ, to work with me to live my life the way I need to.  It is important to note that what is right for me, is not right for another person, and other people may still want to have their care personalised with support, with someone else taking the responsibility.

To start with I was assessed by Social Services to look at the needs that I have.  This resulted in the amount of hours I would need help and support.  I have had a financial assessment.  This not only looks at the money I have coming in or going out, but also to look at benefits that I need to apply for.  It will then be decided how much I will be able to contribute to the support I need.  As the saying goes there is never a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

The next stage is a Support Plan, allowing me to make an attempt to fill in a Plan with advice, I will then get to go over it with Social Services.

Some of the Guidelines give a list of things to talk about.  They may be everything about my life, partly about my life, or it may have things missing that I want to have put in. In a way it reflects the old way of working to ensure that the needs of daily living are thought about, but allowing me to say – no that is not what I want to do.

So here is the list

  • Staying as fit and well as possible
  • Supporting good mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Managing my personal care and daily routines
  • Managing my care and support through the night
  • Help around my home
  • Keeping mobile
  • Managing my personal safety
  • Managing my finances and personal business
  • Maintaining close and personal relationships
  • Keeping in touch with family and friends
  • Supporting family life
  • Support with caring for my pets
  • Getting out and about, being involved in different things
  • Getting to appointments
  • Maintaining my religious obseervations
  • Work, training or education
  • Helping the friends and family who already help me
  • Having more independence
  • Improving the quality of my life
  • Specialist support
  • Covering emergency situations

Personalisation for Me (Cont)

Personalisation for Me (Cont)

So now to complete the form.  There are certain sections such as Who I am? to build a pen picture of my self to include things about my personality, my beliefs, things that are important in my life, my hopes and fears and things people need to know about me for when I need support.

Good Golly Miss Molly! Sang the Swinging Blue Jeans in 1964, but just as this has been brought out by lots of groups since 1958 with Little Richard, the expressions are still the same and other people want to know all about you time after time.

Interesting is it not, that if you don’t need support you never have to prove yourself to anyone?  Even if you go for an interview.  Well the positive side of this is that I’ve got my chance now to do myself justice, and if people want to know that you are not telling lies or trying to get money under false pretences here we go.

Onwards and upwards to the positives and “What is already working well in my life… to move to the downward and inward depressive side “What is not working well in my life”  There are enough bad things to deal with!  However with that statement you get the follow through of what you would like support with to enable you to do it.  It is not always easy to tell the good things that could come out of the bad things, but we are being given a very good opportunity.

Do people believe it is right that you should make yourself feel better by writing what you can’t do? Try it.

I am a really Positive Person. there is always something positive about anything that happens. Why don’t you give it a go?

So with support to develop new ways of thinking, I have to ask for information.  Isn’t it amazing what you don’t know you need to know, until someone comes along with a gift of asking questions outside the Box.  Well wouldn’t it be useful to be signposted?  If you think about it, when you want to drive from A to B, you could use a variety of signposts.  To start with you could use a road map, you could use the internet such as a route planner, in the old days the AA would provide one, if you phoned them (if you were a member). Or theres the “Sat Nav”.  Well at the moment, yes I can “Google” it, but what if I don’t know what is available to me?

This is where the forms that Social Services ask many questions with, that may help you to think outside the box!


To be continued

Personalisation Definition

Personalisation is a social care approach described by the Department of Health as meaning that “every person who receives support, whether provided by statutory services or funded by themselves, will have choice and control over the shape of that support in all care settings.”

Its overall aim is for social care service users to have control over how money allocated to their care is spent. It includes within its remit direct payments, individual budgets, personal budgets, user-led services, self-directed support and the In Control pilots. Self-assessment is also a cornerstone of personalisation. Giving service users the opportunity to assess their own care and support needs as well as deciding how their individual budgets are spent are central planks of the agenda.

Local Stroke Survivors

Local group to keep you updated on how Hull and East Riding  Stroke Service is performing.  Links page available