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How 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 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.

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

The first step

Initially we will have a conversation about your health condition, frailty or disability and how it affects your daily life. From this we will work out what would help you to live independently and we will search for some readily available solutions. Our focus will be on helping you to retain your independence and wellbeing.

If you have long term social care needs we will look to assess those needs when you are at your best and in a familiar environment.

Based on your assessment, we will review your care and support needs to decide if you qualify for support, against the national eligibility criteria and work out what out what we can do to help you.

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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 Surrey Information Point.

Carers of all ages can 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.

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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

If you own a property, the value of your property is taken into account. Please note that Occupational Therapy equipment valued up to £1,000 is free to residents.

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

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Do your financial assessment online

You can now do your financial assessment online where 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.

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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.