Key messages on eligibility determination for the Care Act 2014
- The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 set out national eligibility criteria for access to adult care and support, and for access to carer support. This replaces the existing eligibility framework, which was set out in the 2010 Department of Health guidance Prioritising need in the context of Putting People First: A whole system approach to eligibility for social care, and was also referred to as Fair Access to Care Services (FACS) and local thresholds. The new national minimum threshold for eligibility will be implemented in April 2015. The same eligibility threshold will apply across the country and local authorities cannot restrict eligibility beyond this level.
- Eligibility determination must be made after the needs assessment.
- For the first time, local authorities have a duty to meet the eligible needs of carers and the regulations and guidance set out how the eligibility threshold applies to carers.
- Local authorities still have the power to meet needs that are not considered eligible. This means that local authorities can support people as early as possible to help maintain wellbeing and independence, and potentially delay a situation where longer-term care and support might be required.
- The national eligibility criteria require that in order for needs to be eligible, they must relate to an impairment or illness, mean a person cannot achieve at least two outcomes in their day-to-day life, and that as a result there is a significant impact on their wellbeing. The eligibility determination must be made without regard to whether a carer might be meeting those needs at the given time.