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social care needs assessment

One of the 12 statements in the Epilepsy charter covering the rights and services that a person with epilepsy can expect.

The Epilepsy charter says:

"Anyone caring for you is also entitled to an assessment of their needs. You may also be entitled to benefits."

If you are over 18 years of age you can ask for a social care needs assessment (or ‘community 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. Local authorities have a duty to provide assessments for people who need them.

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.

What an assessment covers

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 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 (opens new window). You can either contact your local authority directly or ask your GP to refer you.

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, which started to replace DLA for working-age people from April 2013) and Attendance Allowance (AA – for people over 65) 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.

For more about benefits, contact the Benefits Enquiry Line on 0800 882 200, DIAL UK on 01302 310 123 or your local Citizens Advice Bureau, or go to the benefits pages of the gov.uk website (opens new window).

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

Get the charter

Order the fold-out guide through our online shop. The guide shows your care pathway from a first seizure, through diagnosis, treatment and self-management. Or download the Epilepsy charter (PDF, 790.74kb).