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Qualifying care needs

Although Local Authorities have their own assessment procedures, they will follow national criteria to decide who is eligible for care and support.

You will be eligible for care if:

  • you have needs connected with any kind of disability or illness and:
  • those needs prevent you achieving 2 or more of the outcomes listed below and:
  • that results in a significant impact on your wellbeing.

In order to be eligible for care, your needs must prevent you achieving two or more of the outcomes below:

  • managing and maintaining nutrition
  • maintaining personal hygiene – for example, being able to wash yourself
  • managing toilet needs
  • being appropriately clothed - for example, being able to get dressed
  • being able to make use of your home safely
  • being able to keep your home in a habitable state
  • developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • making use of necessary facilities or services in your local community such as public transport and libraries
  • being able to care for any dependent children

Not being able to achieve two or more of the above means that you either need help to do these activities, or that when you try to do it yourself it causes you pain, distress or anxiety, it is dangerous for you or others, or it takes you a much longer time than it should.

Carers now also have rights to services, based on slightly different eligibility criteria.

You can find out more about eligibility for care services in our factsheet How to get care and support (PDF 593 KB).

Eligible needs

If you have eligible needs the Local Authority has a legal duty to meet them. To meet your needs the council will allocate a personal budget for your care.

This means that you can choose to have services arranged on your behalf or a cash payment paid to you to arrange your own care. This is called a Direct Payment.

As part of your assessment you should receive appropriate advice about how your needs should be met.

The new personal budget system is intended to allow service users greater choice and control over how their needs are met and funding arrangements.

Understanding direct payments

Personal budgets and direct payments are all about giving your more control over your care.

Find your local Age UK now to discuss your care needs and eligibility

Further information


Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.

You can download other guides in our series from publications

For more information: Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174

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