It’s almost impossible in England for a council to refuse to assess someone for adult services, without breaching public law duties.
So if someone refuses you the chance to be assessed, this is what to say:
- I believe that the Care Act imposes a duty on councils to assess people’s needs if there is merely an appearance of need – not need that is bound to be or even possibly might be eligible, but an appearance of any need for care and support.
[write down what the person then says, carefully]
If someone says that you’re not needy enough to justify an assessment, say this:
- I don’t think that it’s legal to set a threshold for accessing an assessment under the Care Act – the statute is the only filter that it’s legal to use.
- I get that if you could just look me over quickly and say that I wouldn’t qualify, it would save time, but public law says that that would shut people out of a legal right
- It’s not legal to say that a person has to be enduringly or severely mentally unwell, in order to qualify for assessment for adult social services…
- It’s not legal to say that a person has to have a diagnosis of Asperger’s or Autism in order to qualify for assessment.
- It’s not legal to say that a person has to have an IQ lower than 70, in order to qualify for assessment
- It’s not legal to say that a person can’t have an assessment, unless they’re ordinarily resident in the area
- It’s not legal to say that a person can’t have an assessment if they have over the financial threshold: they might well lack capacity and have rights to have their care needs met by council arrangements, and it’s not a bar to home care services at all.
- It’s not legal to say that a person can’t be assessed under the Care Act just because they have housing needs or health needs as part of their overall needs. The Care Act enables councils to meet a person’s needs with accommodation, unless it’s another agency’s duty to provide it.
If you’re caring for someone informally, without being paid to do so, (ie a friend, family member etc) it’s not lawful to be told you can’t have an assessment for your own support needs, unless you are providing regular and substantial care. That test went out when the Care Act came in.
If you’re caring for someone with Continuing NHS health care, or mental health needs, before or after detention in a psychiatric hospital, under the Mental Health Act, it’s not legal to be told that you can’t qualify for support in your caring role. The status of the person being cared for is not relevant to the rights of carers under the Care Act.