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Getting assessed

Getting assessed for adult services
 
Local authorities in Scotland have a legal duty to assess any adults living in their area that appear to be in need of community care services. This is so the local authority can decide if the adult does need community care and what, if any, support the local authority might arrange.
 
Anyone can refer themselves to the local authority or ask for someone in their family to be assessed. It is best to put this request in writing, date it, and to keep a copy as you may need to refer to this request later.
 
There are no timescales set down in law – so it can sometimes take some time before any assessment is carried out. It will depend on an individual’s circumstances and the urgency of their need.
 
During the assessment, the local authority should seek the views of the adult and also the adult’s carers. Unpaid carers are entitled to a separate assessment of their own needs to determine what support they may need to continue in their caring role. It is very important that the needs of carers are identified and that the local authority does not assume that a family member will be able to continue providing the same amount or more care to an adult.
 
There will also be a financial assessment to work out if the adult can afford to make a personal contribution towards the cost of any care he or she might get. This should only look at the income and savings of the adult (and their spouse or partner), not their parents or other family members.
 
Once an assessment has been carried out, the local authority will decide if the adult is eligible for community care services, what their needs are, and what needs the local authority will meet. There is no legal duty to meet every identified need and often there will be a process of negotiation. The local authority has a wide discretion in how to meet a person's needs and can take financial considerations into account.
 
If the local authority does decide that an adult is eligible for community care services then they can arrange to provide the support needed in a number of ways:
  • through the local authority’s own services;
  • by commissioning a care organisation to provide support; or
  • by giving the person, or his or her family, a direct payment or individual budget so they can take control and arrange their own support.

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