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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 towards getting care and support from the council begins with a support needs assessment.

Anyone can approach us for an assessment of their support needs, or the support needs of a family member, friend or neighbour, as long as the person being assessed is aged 18 or over and lives in Surrey.

You can also ask for a carers' needs assessment if you are looking after someone.


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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What is a support needs assessment?

A support needs assessment is a chance for you to tell us about your situation, what you would like help with, what's important to you and how you would like things to change.

A carers' needs assessment gives you an opportunity to think about how caring impacts on your daily routines, health and wellbeing and how willing or able you feel to carry on with your caring role. You can have an assessment on your own, or with the person you look after.

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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The first step

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.

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How to get a support needs assessment

You can get an assessment in three ways:

  • You can do your assessment yourself online, at a time and place that suits you. You can also ask a family member, friend or neighbour to help you complete this or to complete it on your behalf
  • You can call or text our information and advice line to request an assessment: Tel: 0300 200 1005 SMS: 07527 182861
  • You may also be referred to us for an assessment by a health professional or another agency e.g. Age UK, your district or borough council.

Please note: We are still working on ensuring the online forms are fully accessible for people who have a visual impairment. We hope to finalise all changes shortly and are testing with Sight for Surrey to ensure it meets people's needs.

However you choose to get in contact with us, we will either provide some information and advice to help find services to improve your situation, or we will contact you to arrange a face-to-face meeting. During this meeting we will build on the information you have already provided and then agree what kind of care and support you need.

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Will I have to pay?

Assessments, information and advice 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.