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Frequently asked questions

If there's anything you need to know, you can find some of the questions that people often ask below - simply click on a question to see the answer.

Is there an easy way to find out the meaning of some of the words used by social care professionals?

Connect to Support aims to use plain English and avoid jargon, but if you still need some help we suggest this "jargon buster" developed by the Think Local, Act Personal organisation.

Who is the West Sussex Connect to Support website for?

Connect to Support is for anyone in West Sussex who is over 18 and thinks they need some social care help to live independently. It is also for people who are caring for someone. It can be used by people outside West Sussex who want to find information for a relative or friend living in the county. The website is designed to help people find information about social care and search for local groups, products and services.

When should I start to use the Connect to Support website?

There is no specific time - the website is a useful place to start planning for the future, or to help someone you care about. Being well-informed or knowing where to get reliable information can be useful if you suddenly need some help, such as following a hospital discharge, or it may just be used to find out about a local group or activity, or to keep in touch with what is in the news about social care.

How can I find out how to use the Connect to Support website?

These frequently asked questions can help. There are also three short videos which explain the three areas of the website and quick reference guides which you can print off. We have tried to make the website as simple as possible, but when there's a lot of information it is helpful to know how to find your way around the site so we suggest you start with the videos.

What should I do if I need help using the Connect to Support website?

At the top of every page is a "need help?" button to click on, and if you still need help you can email the system provider at or phone 0333 600 6330 (low cost number). Sometimes just browsing the site can be helpful, and if you want to talk to a specialist about social care you can contact the County Council's Adults' CarePoint.

How can I find help about accessibility issues?

Accessibility is the word used to describe whether a product such as a website or a building can be used by people of all abilities and disabilities.

At the top right side of the Connect to Support screen you can change the font size or the background colour.

Or if you want to know more, please go to:

If English is not your first language you can get help at:

What is adult social care?

It is care and support for adults who need extra help to manage their lives and be independent. It is not health care but it can work in a joined up way so the person has co-ordinated health and social care. People can pay for support themselves or they may be eligible for funded social care from the County Council. See question about the role of Adults' Services or find out more at

How can I find out what my social care needs are?

In the area of the website called "Self -assessment" you can start to think about your own situation. You can do a self-assessment which helps you think about what works well in your life and what needs to change. You can use this to tell the County Council or a service provider about yourself. You can also ask for a care assessment from the County Council.

Can Connect to Support help carers?

Yes. The website encourages all people to take control of their own support. In the "Self -assessment" area of the website there is a carer's self-assessment which can help carers think about what works well and what needs to change for them. This can be useful when talking to the County Council or when looking for solutions on the website. In the "Information" area of the site there is a section called "Are you caring for someone?" where you can find out about local support for carers.

What is the difference between a self- assessment and an assessment?

The self-assessment opportunity to think about what works well in your life and what needs to change. It recognises that you are the expert in understanding your situation and your network of support - sometimes small changes can help. An assessment of your needs is undertaken by professionals who take account of your self-assessment and use specialist knowledge to consider any risks. This is particularly useful if your needs are high or complex.

Do I have to refer to the County Council?

No. If you wish to find your own solution that is fine and the website is a good place to start. You can search and shop to consider your options and even set up your own account to purchase on-line if you wish.

  • support people to help themselves within their local communities;
  • ensure people have the opportunity to explore the options available to them;
  • focus on preventing or delaying the need for emergency (or crisis) care; for example, going into hospital or a care home;
  • work with people to help them find the care and support they need to live independently; and
  • help the most vulnerable to feel supported and safe.

Information and advice is provided free to all people in West Sussex, including help with assessing peoples' needs for social care support.

Loans of equipment and some short-term services may be available without charge depending on a person's circumstances.

Longer-term funding for social care is provided to people resident in West Sussex who meet specific eligibility criteria set out in Department of Health guidance. An assessment of a person's social care needs will determine whether they are eligible for funded support from the County Council.

How can I find out what benefits might help me with my social care needs?

We recommend you look at There is also an area on this website about money matters.

How can I find out if I can get financial help from the County Council?

If your needs are high or complex, you may be entitled to funding from the County Council. You will need to have been assessed as eligible for funded social care support and you would need to provide information about your income and savings. A booklet is available from Adults' Services about getting social care support.

If you would like specialist advice, you can contact Adults' CarePoint:

What is self-directed support?

Self-directed support is a system for helping people who are eligible for funded carer to take more control over their own support. It was developed largely around the needs of people requiring social care support but it can also apply to health care needs in some cases. The main characteristics of self-directed support are that:

  • the support is controlled by the person who needs it;
  • the level of support is agreed in a way which is fair, open and flexible; and
  • people close to the person needing support can help plan and find support

What is a personal budget?

People who are eligible for funded social care support are allocated money to spend in a way that helps them meet their assessed needs and supports them to live independently - this money is called a personal budget.

The personal budget can be received as:

  • A Direct Payment - payments are made direct to a bank account of the person or an appointed suitable person. This is someone who can act on behalf of a person who is not able to consent to receive a Direct Payment, such as a family member
  • A Council Managed Budget - the County Council manages the personal budget and arranges the support for the person on their behalf. In West Sussex we have support brokers who can help people consider their options and make the arrangements
  • The money can also be taken as a mixture of Direct Payment and Council Managed Budget

What is a support plan?

Support planning is an opportunity to consider what you want to change in your life and how best to arrange the services and supports to fit around your lifestyle. A support plan can help you think about the type of services you want to meet your needs and the cost, so that you get the best support within your available budget. Within the "self-assessment" part of the website there is the opportunity to find out more about developing a plan.

What is a social care review?

Now and again it is important to think about whether your support plan is still working. If you receive a personal budget from the County Council a social care review should be done at least annually - they will support you with this. If you pay for your own support you should review your plan to see if things need to be adjusted. If there are significant changes in your needs you should do a new self-appraisal or if you would like specialist advice, you can contact Adults' CarePoint: