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health and social care assessment

One of the 12 statements in our document, Care and treatment: your rights and choices, covering the rights and services that a person with epilepsy can expect.

Care and treatment: your rights and choices says: "You are entitled to ask for a health and social care assessment". Unpaid carers are also entitled to their own assessment and people with epilepsy, and their carers, may be entitled to welfare benefits.

What an assessment covers

You can ask your local social services for a health and social care assessment to see if you are eligible for help with care or support. This assessment looks at what difficulties or challenges you have due to your condition, and what help or support might be useful to help you overcome these. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities in England have a duty to provide assessments for people who need them and provide a care and support plan where necessary.  Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own legislation.

An assessment of your needs might help to identify what you need or would find helpful, what is available to you locally, and what you might be eligible to get financial help with.

Assessments look at what is important to you, any health conditions you have and how they affect you, and what you would like to achieve, now and in the future. They include different aspects of your life, such as daily living and practical tasks, being part of your community and managing risk.

The assessment might include:

  • doing a risk assessment of your living arrangements to see whether any equipment or adaptations might be helpful such as a seizure alarm, furniture protection or a shower
  • whether you might benefit from having extra support, such as a carer or personal assistant, at home or when you go out
  • whether you meet the criteria for a personal budget (which you can use to pay for any help or care that you need).

Having an assessment does not mean that you are automatically entitled to help.

What help you can get depends on your needs (how your epilepsy affects you) and your financial situation. Assessments will usually identify whether you have ‘critical’ ‘or ‘substantial’ needs. Your local authority may meet some of your needs (depending on their criteria for funding). If your local authority agrees to pay for your care needs, it must offer you choice and control.  You should be offered a personal budget.  If your local authority is not able to fund meeting your needs, you will usually be told what services and help are available, but you would have to fund these yourself.

Assessments are arranged through adult social care or social services from your local authority. You can either contact your local authority directly or ask your GP to refer you.

NHS continuing healthcare

The NHS is responsible for funding some types of healthcare equipment and may also pay for meeting some care needs. Usually this would be when the needs are mostly around healthcare rather than social care. If your health needs are complex or severe, you may be eligible for NHS continuing healthcare. If so, the NHS will fully fund your package of care.

Assessments for unpaid carers

If you have someone who cares for you (such as a family member or a friend who helps you) in an unpaid capacity, they are entitled to an assessment from social services to identify help or support needs for themselves. This might include the need for home help, equipment or for respite care. Under the Care Act 2014, local authorities have a legal duty to provide services to carers, if their 'carers assessment' shows that they have support needs that fit the authority's criteria.

If you have an assessment through your local authority, your carer should already have been told about their right to an assessment. If you haven’t had an assessment, your carer can still ask for their own assessment by contacting the local authority directly and asking for one.

Entitlements to benefits

People with epilepsy may be entitled to benefits, depending on how their epilepsy affects them. For example, Disability Living Allowance (DLA – for children under 16 years), Personal Independence Payment (PIP -  for working-age people) and Attendance Allowance (AA – for people over 65). These are benefits that do not depend on your income, or whether or not you work. To be eligible for these benefits you need to have daily living or care needs or mobility needs.

Some carers can claim Carer’s Allowance. This benefit depends on their income and savings and is usually paid to people between the ages of 16 and 65, who spend at least 35 hours a week caring. For your carer to be entitled to Carer’s Allowance, you must get Attendance Allowance, Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment yourself.

For more about benefits, contact DIAL UK on 0808 800 3333 or the Citizens Advice Bureau on 03444 111 444, or go to the benefits pages of the gov.uk website.

Find out more about what help is available for people with epilepsy and support for carers.