Adult Social Care Funding

Adult Social Care Funding is usually the responsibility of the local authority (the Council). In London, this means your local borough. Councils often fund support through a contract with a provider agency or charity (such as PLUS). In recent years, alternative methods of funding have been developed to give carers and service users some control. Some of these are based on direct payments to the service user or their family. Another way is for the council to allocate a budget to the service user and then to manage it in line with decisions made by the service user, their family, carers or professionals who are involved in their life (their Circle of Support).

Individual Budgets

Individual budgets are sums of money agreed for use in buying support or care. The money might be used by the council to buy support services or it might be paid to the service user as a Direct Payment (see below). Another way to handle a personalised budget is an Individual Service Fund, which might be spent partly by the council and partly by the service user. This shares the responsibility and gives the service user more freedom, for example by paying for leisure activities while the Council pays for a core package of support hours.

Direct Payments

The service user is assessed by the council, who agree to pay for support or care. The service user can either employ a personal assistant or book their care or support through a provider agency. This includes services from charities such as PLUS. Obviously, the service user has to take some responsibility, either as an employer or a purchaser, and has to handle receipts and payments. Sometimes this is done for them by a carer or family member.

Contributions by the person who uses the service

Even where a council is paying for care or support, contributions towards care funding are required from most people – based on their savings and income but there is an upper limit, beyond which the service user will have to pay the full cost.

Privately Funding Care or Support

Increasingly, care and support charities like PLUS are providing services through a private contract, with the service user or their friends or family, making the purchasing decisions. This can be done with or without the involvement of a social worker. Sometimes the service user has substantial savings (for example from a compensation payment), so they would not be entitled to public funds to pay for their support.

Continuing Care Funding

Where someone has an on-going health condition which causes them to need non-medical support, the funding becomes the responsibility of the National Health Service (NHS) under Continuing Care Funding. This is free care outside of a hospital, funded by the NHS, and there are strict eligibility criteria. To qualify, the person using the service must have a primary health need, a complex medical condition and substantial and on-going care needs. It is no surprise that these definitions can be controversial and service users and their families often disagree with the outcome of continuing care assessments.

For a hospital patient, the assessment is likely to take place at the hospital. In other cases, the request for an assessment should go to the person’s GP (“family doctor”). There is more information on the internet at:

Funding by Councils and the NHS is subject to significant cuts as part of the government’s plan to permanently reduce the size of the public sector budget. Some authorities say they are making efforts to protect the most vulnerable people but as funding cuts continue, the NHS and councils are in a very difficult position and their decisions are starting to have real impact on people with disabilities.

Social care funding is usually restricted to people who are assessed as having ‘critical or substantial needs. Substantial needs include the risk that a person has a lack of control over their immediate environment or where social isolation, abuse or neglect is likely. The Critical category includes risk to life, significant health problems or that serious neglect or abuse will occur. So local authorities have a rational and systematic tool for deciding who is allocated limited social care resources but many people who appear to have quite a lot of support needs are finding that they are not eligible for funding.

Using PLUS Services

  • To find out more about PLUS and our services, please call us on 020 8297 1250 or email us
  • For a referral to our services, please approach your local social work team and ask if they will refer you or your family member to PLUS
  • Enquiries are welcome if you have an individual budget but please ask your local social work team as we will have to
  • set up a contract with them

  • PLUS is also happy to consider referrals on the basis of private funding. Please contact us directly to find out what we can offer.