Social Services – A Guide

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

Social service departments should provide information about what community care services you can obtain and how to get them.

Social Services publish local Community Care Charters drawn up with housing departments and the National Health Service. These will enable users of the services and their carers to know who is responsible for what and the standard of the service they can expect.

See also: Community Care for Disabled People the Sick and Elderly

Assessing Your Needs

If you are a disabled person, you have the right to ask the social services/social work department for an assessment of your care needs. People caring for a disabled relative or friend also have the right to ask for an assessment for them. A social worker, care manager or occupational therapist will come and discuss your needs and wishes.

If you then need a range of services and are eligible according to local criteria, social services will put together a “package” of support which may include services from private or voluntary organisations. If necessary they will put you in touch with the NHS or other local authority services like housing. You may have to pay towards the cost of some of the services. Carers of disabled people can also ask for a separate assessment of their own needs.

See Caring for someone

Services Available:-

Home care or home help services can help you with your personal and domestic care needs

Meals on wheels can deliver a hot meal to your home if you have problems cooking. You may also be able to eat at a day centre or luncheon club, perhaps for a small charge.

Equipment and adaptations:-

Social services provide a range of aids and equipment for disabled people to use at home. They also work with housing departments and housing associations to provide adaptations (alterations to your home which will benefit you). An occupational therapist will usually carry out your assessment.

Day centres provide facilities for recreation and training to help people back to work. They may offer some supported employment, educational and sporting activities, and provide the opportunity to meet socially.

Day Care if you are a disabled person or your child is disabled or considered to be in need, your child may be able to go to a day nursery, a registered child-minder or a part-time playgroup.

Social Workers/care managers work in either the community or in hospitals. They will assess your needs and provide services and equipment to meet them if you are eligible. They will provide you with support, help with welfare benefits, family difficulties and issues that concern you, your carer and your family. If you are in hospital, the social worker/care manager will help you to arrange services in preparation for your discharge.

Residential care The care assessment

may result in a decision to provide residential accommodation in residential care home or nursing home. If so, the local authority will either provide a place in one of its own homes or contract with and independent (private or voluntary) home to provide a place. Local authorities must make sure that people have a genuine choice of which home they are placed in and that it is suitable for their needs.

When an authority places someone in a home, it assesses on a means-tested basis the ability of the resident to contribute to the cost. Most income and capital, above appropriate levels, is taken into account when arriving at the amount you should contribute.

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Registration as disabled person

You can, if you wish, register as a disabled person with your local authority. Although this is not necessary to obtain local authority services, it may help in getting concessions such as reduced fares and Blue Badge parking.


If you have difficulty in getting to a polling station or voting, you can apply for a postal vote to your local electoral registration officer using form RPF7 from your local council offices.

Ask a social worker about any of these services or contact your local social service/social work department