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The Care Act and eligibility

The Care Act (2014) gives clear information about local authorities’ duties to support adults with care and support needs and the people who care for them. It aims to put the person at the centre of their care and to improve people’s independence and wellbeing. The Care Act also sets out what type of support carers are entitled to.

According to the Care Act, anybody considered to be in need of care and support has the right to a needs assessment. This should focus on the person’s needs, the impact these needs have on the person’s wellbeing, and what the person wants to achieve.

The Care Act states that local authorities have a duty to make sure that the people living in their area have access to information and advice about their care and support options. People should also receive the support that they need to continue to live independently for as long as possible. The Care Act also discusses prevention as a means of supporting people in a variety of ways. Information must be available in formats that everyone can understand, regardless of their needs.

There are three things that a local authority must consider when determining the eligibility of adults with care and support needs under the Care Act:

  • if the adult has a physical or mental condition which means that they need care and support
  • if, due to their needs, the adult is not able to achieve at least two of the eligibility outcomes. This includes when the adult would not be able to achieve an outcome without assistance or without it causing them significant pain or distress or harm to themselves or others, or taking considerably longer than usual
  • if, as a result of not being able to achieve these outcomes, the adult’s wellbeing may be significantly affected

There are three things that the local authority must consider when determining eligibility of carers with support needs under the Care Act:

  • if the carer needs support due to the necessary care they provide for an adult with care and support needs (these needs themselves do not need to be ‘eligible’)
  • if the physical or mental health of the carer is at risk of worsening due to their caring responsibilities, or the carer is not able to achieve any of the eligibility outcomes for carers
  • if, as a result of not being able to achieve these outcomes, the carer’s wellbeing may be significantly affected

For more information on the Care Act, see the Gov.uk factsheets.

For more information on eligibility criteria, see SCIE: Eligibility criteria under the Care Act 2014 or the legislation The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014