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Support when you need it in a way that works for you


Information for people with social care needs

We believe that you should be at the centre of the assessment and planning process, because you understand your own needs and how to meet them.


Self-assessment is designed to help you think about your personal circumstances, what is working well in your life and what needs to change. It asks you about your interests and lifestyle, your health and wellbeing, nutrition, and day-to-day activities such as getting out and about and being able to look after yourself. It also asks you about the help you get from others. It can be useful to fill in a self-assessment form if you are thinking about asking us to assess your needs and provide social care support.

You can send the filled-in form to us and ask us to assess your needs. You do not have to fill in a self- assessment form before contacting us. It is simply there to help you think about your situation. If you do not want to contact us for an assessment of your needs, you can use the self-assessment to help you plan and pay for your own support.

You can find the link to the self-assessment form at the website westsussex.gov.uk under ‘Adult social care assessment – assessment for people with social care needs’, or you can contact our Adults’ CarePoint to ask for a paper copy. Please see our contact details on the 'Contact us' page.

There is also a financial self-assessment form which can help you think about your finances and give you an indication of whether we could pay for any of your support. You can find the link to the financial self-assessment form at westsussex.gov.uk under ‘Financial assessment’.


If you think you need social care support, you have the right to ask us to assess your needs. This does not mean we will provide funding at the end of the assessment as you may not be eligible for this, or there may be other ways to meet your needs besides funding.

When you first contact us, a member of our staff will talk with you about your circumstances or those of the person you are concerned about. They will ask you about your situation and will discuss what is working well for you and what needs to change.

We make sure that we treat everyone fairly and that people who are most in need receive the highest level of support.

To do this we use national guidelines to help us understand whether or not people have eligible needs. This applies to people who need social care and to their family and friend carers. The guidelines are called ‘eligibility criteria’ and they are set out in the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2015.

If you have filled in a self-assessment form, the social care worker will look at what you have told us as part of your assessment.

We will focus on the things that are important to you in your circumstances. We may ask you about:

• your wellbeing – what is important to you in your daily life;
• any physical illness or mental-health issues;
• food and drink – your diet and preparing meals;
• personal care – keeping clean and being appropriately dressed;
• looking after your home;
• getting around your home safely;
• developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships;
• finding and being involved in work, training, education or volunteering;
• getting out and about – using community services, including public transport and recreational facilities; and
• carrying out any caring responsibilities.

We will work with you to identify your strengths and capabilities. We will look at what you want to achieve and identify any support that may be available in your local community, before working out how much money may be available for your support. We will only provide funding for eligible needs that cannot be met in any other way.

In some circumstances, if it has been decided that your needs are not eligible, we may provide reablement or support which prevents them from getting worse (for example, after you are discharged from hospital and before your longer-term needs have been identified).

There may be other assessments we take into account or ones we might suggest so you can get other services.

We may want to share information about you with other agencies we work closely with. We will ask for your agreement if we need to contact other agencies to gather information about you. However, we will not ask for your agreement if we believe that this could put you or someone else at risk of abuse or neglect. This is because we have a legal responsibility to protect people who are unable to keep themselves safe.

We also explain to you that you may need to make a financial contribution towards the support you need. A welfare benefits adviser will contact you to arrange to assess how much you should pay towards your support – we call this your contribution. The amount we ask you to pay will depend on your financial circumstances. You will have to pay any assessed financial contribution from the time your support begins. If you do not want to give us details of your finances, we will ask you to pay the full cost of your support.

For more information on this, please see our booklet ‘Do I need to pay for social care in my home or local community?’, which is available at westsussex.gov.uk under ‘Adults’ social care publications’. Or, you can contact our Adults’ CarePoint and ask for a copy. Please see our contact details on the 'Contact us' page.

Our welfare benefits adviser will also check that you are receiving all the benefits you are entitled to. They will give you advice on benefits, and help you to fill in claim forms.

We aim to contact you about an initial assessment within seven working days from the time you first contact us, and to fill in your assessment within 28 calendar days from the time you first contact us.

If urgent action is needed to protect your safety and reduce serious risk, we can provide support before carrying out a full assessment of your needs.

Last updated: 31 January 2024