How adult social care can help

I think I have care and support needs, how do I get help?

The first step is to have a conversation with us so we can understand your needs, or those of someone you look after.

We will have open conversations with you and your family or a carer if you wish, to understand your concerns, what you have already tried to improve your independence or wellbeing and what might be the next best steps for you. We can also discuss the needs of those family members with caring responsibilities including any children in the household.

We will do this by getting to know you, listening to what's important to you, understanding what you can do yourself or with support, and what your ambitions are to have a more fulfilling life.

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Connecting you with your community

We will initially look at how we can connect you to appropriate community-based support and prevent the escalation of your care and support needs.

We can let you know about all the different options available locally in the community and how to get what you need to live independently in your own home. This may include practical support such as using equipment to help you be more mobile, or help with meals or being able to get out and about more easily. Often information and advice is all people need to make some decisions to help keep them independent, safe and well. Our focus will be on helping you to retain your independence and wellbeing. For guidance our staying independent section. It is expected short term support or time limited help will be reduced or withdrawn over time as your independence grows.

Longer term needs

If you have longer term or more complex needs, we will normally need to carry out a more detailed assessment to see if you are eligible to receive social care support.

It is always best to assess your long-term care and support needs when you are at your best and in a familiar environment, ideally at home. We will aim to maximise your independence and, where possible, reduce services over time with growing independence.

When completing assessments, we take a 'whole family' approach, which means that you will be asked questions about yourself and your support network. If you have a carer or young carer, they will be invited to be a part of the assessment too and also have an assessment of their own needs.

Online tools and information

Try our quick and easy-to use online checklist to get an indication of whether you are likely to qualify for social care support. As well as providing you with information on the support you could access locally, the checklist will also tell you if it might be worth spending time to do a full support needs assessment.

If you think you are unlikely to qualify for support from us, visit our staying independent section which contains lots of information about services that could support you to stay at home for longer. You can also find out what local support options are available for you to arrange yourself by visiting Connect to Support Surrey.

Carers of all ages can also access free, independent information, advice and support from Action for Carers.


The government has set national eligibility criteria for adult care and support and carers' support under the Care Act 2014. This means people get the same access to care and support wherever they live. Your eligibility is determined by an assessment of your support needs. There is a different set of eligibility criteria for carers.

Read our assessments and eligibility page to find out more about the criteria used.

Will you have to pay?

Information and advice and assessments are free. However, there may be a cost to any care and support services you receive from us. If you qualify for support we will ask you to do a financial assessment to work out how much you can afford to pay towards this cost.

You will have to pay for the full cost of your care if you have savings of:

  • £23,250 or above for residential services
  • £24,500 or above for non-residential services

You can find out more about paying for care and what we consider when calculating your contribution on at Paying for residential services.

Do your financial assessment online

You can do your financial assessment online. You'll be able to see what you may have to pay towards your care and support. Any information you enter will not be sent to us, unless you choose to submit it.

Direct payments

Following your assessment and an agreement by the council to meet your eligible social care needs you may be offered a direct payment which allows you to choose and arrange your own support.

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