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When will an adult be eligible?

An adult with no recourse to public funds may be provided with accommodation and financial support by social services under the Care Act 2014, when the Council has assessed that requires care, for example a care package or place in a residential care home. The Council will not have a duty to meet needs that have arisen solely due to the adult’s situation of destitution, therefore an adult with no recourse to public funds, who is homeless and who does not have any care needs, will not be eligible for accommodation from social services.

When an adult is referred to social services for support, a needs assessment would need to be carried out in line with the statutory guidance. In England this is the Care and Support statutory guidance, published by the Department of Health and Social Care.

The Council will only have a duty to undertake a needs assessment when the adult presents with an appearance of need, as supported, for example, with evidence of a physical and mental impairment or illness from a medical practitioner or organisation working with the person. If the low threshold to warrant an assessment is triggered and the adult is homeless and/or has no income available to meet their basic living needs, emergency support may be provided whilst assessments are being carried out under section 19(3) of the Care Act 2014

In order to receive assistance under the Care Act 2014, the adult must have care and support needs that arise from, or are related to, a physical or mental impairment or illness. The Council will only have a duty under section 18 of the Care Act 2014 to meet care and support needs when these meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2015. These require social services to consider whether usual tasks of ordinary life can be completed independently by the adult. If two or more outcomes listed in the Regulations cannot be completed without significant difficulty, due to the person’s physical or mental impairment or illness, then the Council will determine what assistance is required either from social services, other organisations and/ or their carers. If the eligibility criteria is not met, but the adult remains vulnerable because of wider concerns relating to their ill-health or disability, or if they are at risk of exploitation or harm, the Council may use a power under section 19(1) to meet care and support needs that do not meet the eligibility criteria.

An equivalent legal duty to provide accommodation and financial support applies under the following legislation in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, although slightly different eligibility tests will apply:

  • Section 35 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014
  • Sections 12 and 13A of the Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968
  • Articles 7 and 15 of the Health and Personal Social Services (Northern Ireland) Order 1972

The Home Office has confirmed that a council will only be responsible for providing accommodation to an asylum seeker with care and support needs when the person requires residential care or whilst assessments are being carried out when they are not already accommodated by the Home Office. See our information on social care.

When an adult requests support, social services will need to get information from the Home Office about the person’s current immigration status in order to establish what support options are available and whether an immigration-related exclusion to social services’ support applies.

Immigration terms

Asylum seeker

A person who has made a claim to the UK government for protection (asylum) under the United Nations Refugee Convention 1951 and is waiting for a decision from the Home Office or final decision from the appeal courts (following a refusal).