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Why might I need help from adult social care?

Once you have spoken to our Adult Access Team, you may find there are still things you want to achieve. If this is the case, you can ask for a support assessment, in the form of a conversation and discussion, where we will work with you to identify what these things are and how you can meet them.

What happens during a support assessment? 

We will start by talking to you to understand things from your point of view. We will give you the chance to tell us what you would like to change or experience to live the life you want to lead. We will focus on your strengths, what you can do, and what is available to stay as independent as possible. This could include doing something in a different way; using equipment or technology to support you; or adaptations that can help you, without the need for care.

During our conversation, we will discuss different parts of your life and what is important to you. To find out more about you we will ask you things such as

  • how you look after yourself
  • what’s working well for you
  • what you have difficulty doing
  • the kind of support you have now
  • your physical and emotional health
  • your involvement in your community
  • whether or not you have a carer
  • what support you need

The social care worker will ask about any care and support you currently get from other people. This could include your family or friends who give you unpaid support. They will also have the chance to share their views and ideas if you are happy for them to do so.

How do I know if I will be able to get support from the council?

Not everyone is able to get care and support from the council. We use national guidelines which are set out in the Care Act 2014 to make the decision. These guidelines make sure that everyone has fair and equal access to care and support services.


These three questions are used to work out whether you will be able to get care and support from the council:

  1. Do your needs arise from an illness, a physical disability including frailty, or a mental illness?
  2. Do these needs mean you are unable to achieve two or more of the tasks or ‘outcomes’ below?
  3. As a result of this, is there likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing/how you feel?

You should meet all three of the criteria stated above to get care and support.


When considering whether you will be able to get care and support services, we look at the ‘outcomes’, what you want to change or achieve in relation to the following tasks:

  • eating and drinking properly
  • washing and dressing
  • managing toilet needs
  • getting dressed
  • being safe at home
  • keeping your home clean and tidy
  • keeping contact with friends and family
  • taking part in work, training, education, or volunteering
  • using services in the local community such as public transport
  • caring for your child/partner

What happens if I am not able to get care and support from the council?

If you are not able to get care and support from the council, we will still explore with you how you can do things differently and provide you with information and advice.

If I am able to get care and support, do I have to pay?

The simple answer is yes, most people will have to pay something towards the cost of their care. It is likely that you will be able to get some financial help if you have savings or capital of less than £23,250. If you have more than that amount, you will more than likely have to cover the full cost of your care, for as long as you can afford to. This will be determined through a financial assessment, or ‘means-test’.

However, this does not change your right to have a support assessment or receive information and guidance.

Find the cost of your care and eligibility using Which? tool

We recommend you to use the cost of care and eligibility tool provided by Which? to find out:

  • care home fees
  • cost of home care
  • if you are eligible for financial support from Dorset Council

What will a financial assessment look at?

We will look at your financial situation at a separate time from your support assessment.  Your financial assessment does not affect whether you meet the criteria above to get care and support from the council, it just determines whether you must pay towards it. The financial assessment takes into account whether you will be receiving care services in your own home, or in residential care, or nursing home, and will be carried out by one of our assessment officers.

Your financial assessment will normally be done over the telephone, although in certain circumstances we may need to visit you at home.

Your financial assessment will discuss the following areas:

  • capital (savings and investments)
  • income
  • property (in the case of permanent residential care)
  • housing related expenses
  • disability related expenditure

An information sheet (Paying for care and support services) is available to explain how to prepare for this.

Once your support assessment and financial assessment have been completed we will tell you your estimated personal budget.

What is your personal budget?

The total expected cost of your care and support, (including how much you pay towards it, if anything), is called your personal budget. Before your personal budget is agreed we will prepare a ‘support plan’ to show how the outcomes you have identified will be met. This is explained in the information sheet ‘Developing your support plan using your personal budget’. Your finalised personal budget will include both what you have to pay towards your care and support and what the council will pay.

What happens if I get better or worse?

If you have a personal budget, we will review it within three months of starting it and then every 12 months.

If your situation changes, let us know as soon as possible. During the reviews, we will talk about what has changed and how this has affected you. Your support plan will be updated with these details.

What if I want someone to speak for me?

Advocacy is a way for someone to tell others what they want if they feel they can’t do so on their own.

Family and friends or health and social care staff can help you speak up. Or it may be that you have a formal arrangement in place through a power of attorney for health and welfare or finance who would speak on your behalf.

An advocate helps you to:

  • express your views and concerns
  • access information and services
  • explore choices and options
  • defend and promote your rights and responsibilities

If you need the support of an advocate, please speak to the social care worker about this.

Unpaid Carers assessment under the Care Act 2014 

Carers may be eligible for support from the council whether or not the adult they care for has eligible needs.

If you are a carer, the Unpaid Carers Assessment is an opportunity to discuss your caring role and what support you may need.

Further information

You may also like to look at these related pages:

Government guide to eligibility for care and support
Contact us for more information