Applying for support

1. Who can apply?

If you are over 18, living in East Sussex and need support, get in touch to find out how we might be able to help. You can contact us yourself or ask someone else to do it for you.

Our aim is to make sure you get the support you need to live as independently and safely as possible.

You are the best person to decide what works for you, so you will have a say in all the major decisions about your care and support. But if you need help at any stage we are here to support you.

We give free information and advice to everyone who contacts us for help, even if you don’t have eligible care and support needs.

Please bear in mind that we don’t have the resources to offer care and support to everyone. This means we have to prioritise the people who need our help most. But even if you don’t have eligible care and support needs we can give you information and advice, including about other sources of support.

How to apply for support

To ask for our help is simple, whether for yourself or on behalf of someone else. Just get in touch with us in the way that suits you best, to let us know about the situation. We’ll ask you for details to see how we can help. This might include information about relevant financial circumstances. We might arrange for a home visit to complete the process.

What happens when I contact you?

We know that contacting adult social care for the first time isn’t easy. So we have put together a step-by-step guide so you can see exactly what will happen when you contact us. Our guide explains the whole application process – from making the first phone call to setting up your support.

2. Working out what support you need

If you are over 18, living in East Sussex and need support, get in touch to find out how we might be able to help. You can contact us yourself or ask someone else to do it for you.

Your assessment

When you contact us we will ask you about your needs and any support you are getting already.

This assessment helps us to understand things from your point of view, agree on how best to meet your needs and decide whether you have eligible care and support needs. We will also find out if you qualify for help towards the cost of your support.

We can do this over the phone, by email or we can arrange for someone to visit you.

Finding out more about you

During the assessment, we will ask you about different aspects of your life, and what you would like to achieve. For example you might want to be able to get washed and dressed every morning or to be able to go out more.

We’ll ask about things like:

  • how you look after yourself
  • what’s working well
  • what you would like to change
  • the kinds of support you have now
  • your physical and emotional health.

Your needs assessment will always be as an individual, which means that any support you get from anyone who looks after you won’t affect whether you are eligible or not.

However, once we have worked out that you are eligible for support, and we are looking at how much your support might cost, we will factor in any support you get from friends, family, and other local people or services.

What we can do for you

We will use the information you give us to work out whether we are able to offer you practical support.

The government has set national ‘eligibility criteria’ rules for adults who need care and support and for carers. This means care and support is more consistent across the country. If you have care and support needs which significantly impact on your wellbeing, you may be eligible for support from us.

If you do not have eligible care and support needs, we will give you information and advice, including about other organisations that might be able to help you.

Your financial situation

We will also ask you some basic questions about your income and savings. This will help us calculate how much you might need to pay towards your care and support.

3. Working out costs and payments

Once we know what your needs are, we can work out the amount of money we think it will cost to meet them. This is the estimated budget required to meet your eligible social care needs. We call this a planning budget. We calculate it using the information you give us in your assessment.

It is important to note that your planning budget is just a guide to help you plan your support. It is not the amount of money you will definitely get.

Your support plan

You use your planning budget to put together a support plan. This says what your needs are and how you want them to be met. You can decide what you want to spend your budget on, as long as it helps you to meet the needs identified in your assessment.

When we have agreed your support plan we will work out your final budget. We call this your ‘personal budget’. This is the amount of money that it will cost to provide the support in your plan.

How to get help working out costs

We have to charge for most of our services. This means you may need to put some of your own money towards your personal budget. We will work out how much you need to pay using the information you give us about your finances during your financial assessment.

If you have to pay for all your own support, you are unlikely to receive a personal budget from us – but you can get help to make the most effective use of your money.

4. Deciding your support plan

Once you have your planning budget you can develop your support plan. This sets out what you want to achieve and the support you need to achieve it.

We’ll send you a blank support plan form along with a copy of the assessment you’ve already completed, outlining your needs and what you want to achieve.

What to include

Everyone’s plan will be different. You can be creative and use sources of support that work for you, provided they meet the needs set out in your assessment. The plan can be in whatever format suits you best as long as it demonstrates how the care and support arrangements in the plan will help you to meet the needs identified in your assessment. We sometimes call this demonstrating outcomes.

Your support plan should tell us about:

  • your lifestyle, health and how you look after yourself
  • the support you already have and the support you need to live more independently – such as personal care during the day
  • what you want help with– such as getting up, washing and dressing every morning
  • how you will achieve this – for example ‘a home carer will visit each morning to help me wash and dress’
  • when it will happen – for example ‘half an hour every weekday morning’
  • who will do it – such as a home care service or a personal assistant.

Getting help

You can make your support plan yourself or ask someone to help you with it such as:

  • family or friends
  • a service provider
  • your social care advisor
  • an independent person who specialises in support planning

5. Reviewing and agreeing your support plan

Once you have completed your support plan, we need to agree it based on whether it meets your needs and that it:

  • does not go over your personal budget
  • uses our money sensibly and within the law
  • is clear about how you will manage your support and budget.

If it doesn’t meet these conditions, we will ask you to change it.

If your support plan isn’t agreed

If we decide your plan needs changes before we can agree it, we will contact you and explain why. For example, we might say it:

  • needs to be clearer – for example it should say how your day-to-day support will be managed or delivered.
  • has been changed without your agreement and in ways that would make your life worse
  • does not include a detailed plan for your support
  • puts you or others at an unacceptable level of risk.

Sometimes we can’t agree your support plan because we’re concerned that your needs aren’t clear. If this happens we may have to carry out another assessment.

6. Setting up your support

Once your plan has been agreed, you can start setting up your support. You can do this in a few different ways.

Deciding who will provide your support

Support provided directly by Adult Social Care

You can choose to ask us to set up and provide your support – you do not need to do anything. For example, if your support plan says you need an hour of home care per day, we will arrange for someone to come to your house

Support from an independent provider

You can choose to have your support from an independent provider. We can help you to choose the provider and make the arrangements.

Set up the support yourself

You can choose to set up support yourself using direct payments. This is when we give you an agreed amount of money so that you can arrange your own care.

For example, you might decide that you would like a personal assistant to provide your support. You could then choose someone yourself and use your direct payments to pay for them.

We can also help you set up your own support – for example, finding prices for services or equipment.

Combining Adult Social Care services and other independent services

You can also have a combination of services provided by us, and services that you choose yourself and pay for with direct payments.

Making changes to your support plan

You can make small changes yourself

As you start putting your support in place, you may feel that it needs some small adjustments. You can make small changes without telling us first if:

  • your needs are the same
  • the changes do not prevent you from achieving the goals in your support plan – for example if one of your aims is to attend a regular appointment at a certain time, the changes must not stop you from doing this
  • the cost of your support is still within the limits of your personal budget
  • the changes do not involve any illegal activities and do not put you or others at unreasonable risk.

Significant changes

In some situations we will need to agree changes to your support plan. For example if you:

  • change from independent services to services provided directly by Adult Social Care
  • save up more than four weeks of direct payments
  • increase the level of risk in your support plan
  • want an unplanned personal budget payment of more than £100.

If you need to make significant changes, contact your social care worker straight away. We will decide if the changes can be agreed over the phone or whether you need to have an unscheduled review.

If your needs change

If your needs change significantly, you may need to have a review. This means we will look at your circumstances and adjust your support plan. If you no longer qualify for social care then we may reduce or stop your personal budget.

Reviewing your support plan

Your support plan will be reviewed a few weeks after the start of a new support plan or where significant changes have been made. We may review your support by telephone, letter or face-to-face to make sure it’s meeting your needs. This is a chance for you to tell us what is working and what might need to change.

We will review your support regularly after that to make sure you are still getting the support you need. If your needs change between reviews, contact us.

7. The help we can give to everyone

Some of our services are available to everyone regardless of their level of need or their savings and income.

Adult Social Care assessment

You can get in touch with us for a social care assessment. We can help make sure you get the right sort of care and support to meet your needs. During the assessment we will:

  • find out what kind of care and support you need
  • talk to you about what care and support options are available
  • check you aren’t missing out on any help with costs
  • help you manage your current and future care and support costs.

If you live in East Sussex and need an adult social care assessment, or just want help with finding a care provider, get in touch with us:

Information and advice

Finding a care provider

We can give you information and advice about other organisations and groups that might be able to help you.

We can also help you find care and support providers and advise you on getting quotes from them so that you get the most from your money.

You can also get independent help from Care Choices. They publish regional directories of care services and other useful contacts (both in hard copy and online). You can also register with them online to shortlist your care options.

Help with benefits

We give you help with benefits during your assessment. We can check what you are already claiming, give advice on what you should be claiming and help you to fill in the forms.

Find out more about, for example:

If you are moving into care

It is important to understand your rights before deciding to move permanently into a care home. We can give you advice on this, and about finding a suitable care home.

You can also get independent advice from Care Choices. They publish regional directories of care services (available online) and other useful contacts. You can also register with them online to shortlist your care options.

You can find out quality ratings for local care homes from the Care Quality Commission:

Help and enquiries