Social Care Budgets & Autistic Adults

4 black and white cartoon characters stood together talking with the title "Personal Assistants"

Hi, I’m Alice and I am the Head of Support Services for Autistic Nottingham. I wasn’t sure what to write about for this months blog series so I thought I’d talk about what I know, and that’s social care budgets for Autistic adults. A lot of people come to us as a charity asking for long term support and we have to inform them it’s not as simple as just asking us, it’s a long process of assessments and commissioning. Hopefully I can lay it out a bit for you, how to get an assessment, what it involves and what kind of support you can get (not just from us but in general)


Social Care Assessments

First of all, you will need to contact your local social services and request a social care assessment. 

Anyone with a long term health condition or disability is eligible for a care assessment under the Care Act (2014). You do not necessarily need a formal diagnosis to request support and some things that you may not class as health condition or disability (such as drug/alcohol dependency) can be valid reasons for an assessment.

The assessment can be carried out in person or over the phone/online and is completed either by a qualified social worker or a community care assessor who reports to a qualified social worker.

The assessment is similar to many benefit assessments, where they ask you about how you cope with day to day activities. The questions they ask will fall into the below categories:

The Care Assessment Criteria - You must score in at least 3 areas to generate a budget, Eating Properly, Personal Hygiene, Toileting, Dressing, Occupational, Accessing the Community, Safe in the Home, Clean Home, Visiting Friends & Family

To qualify for a social care budget, you need to prove that your struggle in three of these areas. These struggles do not need to be so extreme that you cannot complete any tasks, for example:

Dressing – You may be physically capable of dressing yourself but struggle with what is appropriate to wear on a day, or you have a pain condition that means some days you cannot safely dress yourself due to that pain.

If you need support with the assessment process it is your statutory right to have an independent Advocate provided to you, which you would request from social services.

Fairer Charging Assessments

Once you have completed your social care assessment, that looks at your needs, a “fairer charging” assessment to assess whether you need to financially contribute to your care as social care is not free to everybody.

Each council has their own assessment team who will send you some paperwork to complete. They, in short, assessing how much disability income you have and how much disability outgoings you have. 

Disability Income (Disability Benefits like PIP, DLA, ESA, etc.) minus Disability outgoings (Money the client must spend due to their disability) equals your contributions

This can look a bit confusing when you’re not used to the process, so I’ve done an example of what this might look like:

High Rate PIP in Care Component is £369.60 a month. The example expenses are items such as Headspace Subscription, Special Clothing, Wheelchair Repairs, Special Food due to Allergies, Gym Membership (referred by Doctor), Additional heating costs (over local average. All of those costs came to £360. This amount taken from the initial £3960.60 means this client needs to pay £9.60 a month

When looking at your “disability outgoings” you must make sure:

  • You have justified that this item is bought due to your condition, that you wouldn’t have it if you didn’t have that condition
  • That you include any justifications from other professionals (if you have to go to the gym due to a condition and a Doctor has said this, for example)
  • That you have receipts or some form of evidence to show you bought it and it’s cost
Every council will have slightly different rules and ways of assessing but there is a national guidance that they must adhere to.

There are some new rule changes coming in October 2023, but currently important things to remember:

  •  Earned income (from employment) cannot be taken into consideration, otherwise it would “disincentivize employment”
  • Your partners earning and savings cannot be taken into consideration, because that is theirs, not yours.
  • Your savings can be taken into account
    • if your savings are above £23,250 you will have to pay all of your care

What Can I Get Support With?

Once you have completed both these assessments, your care plan and your contributions (if any) are agreed, you will then need to have a support provider allocated.

There are so many options as to who can provide your care and how the funding will be managed. I won’t go into these options but you can find out which is the best option for you from your social services.

When choosing who is going to provide your support, you should first decide roughly what you want support with. Your care plan will outline which areas (of the 9 we listed above) you need support in, but you need to think about what specifically within that category you need support with.

Autistic people often have a variety of support needs that could benefit having someone to help them with. Some support needs people can have vary; from life admin stuff such as making phone calls, having help with attending or making medical appointments. Personal assistants can also help you with keeping on top of housework, meal planning, shopping and cooking.

Once you’ve got a rough idea of the “what” you can then start looking for the “who” 🙂 There are many great organisations out there as well as independent individuals who could provide your support.

If you’d like to know more about how we provide support for Autistic adults with care budgets you can find out more on our website here.


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