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Eligibility Criteria

I have care needs can the council help me?

Bedford Borough Council follows the national minimum eligibility criteria introduced in April 2015 under the Care Act.  The national eligibility criteria sets a minimum threshold which  ensures that all councils across England use the same criteria for deciding who is, and who isn’t, eligible to receive care and support.


Before we can offer you care services, we have to see if you are eligible to receive them, following an assessment of your care needs.


National Eligibility applies to adults aged 18 and above.  In specific circumstances the eligibility may also apply to children, their carers and young carers when they are subject to transition assessments.


We will meet your needs if a care needs assessment shows that:

  • your needs arise from, or are related to, a physical or mental impairment or illness
  • as a result of your needs, you are unable to achieve two or more outcomes ( day to day activities) – see 'what the Care Act says'
  • as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a sufficient impact on your wellbeing.


I am a carer can the Council help me?

There is also a national criterion for carers which is based on the impact a carer’s needs for support has on their wellbeing.


If you are a carer you will have eligible needs if:

  • your needs arise as a consequence of providing necessary care for an adult- it must be necessary care that a person can’t provide for themselves.
  • the effect of your needs is that any of the circumstances , see ‘ What the Care Act says'*


Eligibility for support is based on your needs and how these affect your wellbeing.  The assessment of your needs is made regardless of whether or not the person you care for has eligible needs.


What is ‘care and support’?

Care and Support is a term used to describe the help some adults need when they are unable to perform their day to day tasks because of a physical disability,  a learning disability, a long term condition, frailty due to old age, mental ill health, substance, or if they care for an adult friend or family member and this is impacting on their own wellbeing.


Care and support can be given by family members and friends, by us, or by other organisations.


How do I qualify for help under the Eligibility Criteria?

Anyone in Bedford Borough who feels they need care and support can ask for an assessment of care needs, or if they are a carer, a carer’s assessment. This is so we can help identify these needs and how they can be met.


What the Care Act says:

 A person’s needs meet the eligibility criteria if:


  • they arise from, or are related to, a physical or mental impairment or illness
  • as a result of these needs, the person is unable to do two or more of the day to day activities specified below and …
  • as a consequence there is, or is likely to be, a significant impact on the person’s wellbeing.


*The Care Act says that consideration must be given to the following day to day activities:


  • managing and maintaining nutrition
  •  maintaining personal hygiene
  • managing toilet needs
  • being appropriately clothed
  • being able to make use of the adult’s home safely
  • maintaining a habitable home environment
  • developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • accessing and engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community including public transport and recreational facilities and services
  • carrying out caring responsibilities the adult has for a child


*Carers can be eligible for support in their own right


The Care Act says that consideration must be given to the following day today activities. To be eligible, a carer must be unable to achieve any of the following outcomes:


  • carrying out any caring responsibilities the carer has for the child
  • providing care to other persons for whom the carer provides care
  • maintaining a habitable home environment
  • managing and maintaining nutrition
  • developing and maintaining family or other significant personal relationships
  • engaging in work, training, education or volunteering
  • making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community
  • engaging in recreational activities


As a consequence of that fact there is, or there is likely to be, a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing.

  • We must consider whether the carer’s needs and their ability to achieve the outcomes above present a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing in a significant way; or
  • The impact on a number of areas of wellbeing is such that they have a significant impact on an adult’s overall wellbeing.


After eligibility has been determined your care and support needs will either be:

  • eligible needs or
  • non eligible needs

If you have eligible needs we will be able to offer care and support to you and agree with you which of your needs you would like the local authority to meet, and you may wish to arrange alternative services yourself to meet some or all of your needs.


If your needs are non-eligible we will still be able to help you by offering information and advice about services in the Bedford area that may be able to help to meet your needs.  In either situation we will provide you with a copy of our decision and advise you further.


If you do not at present qualify for support provided by Adult Social Care Services, you may qualify for help in the future. We will provide information to you on what can be done to meet to reduce the needs (for example what support might be available in the community to help you or your carer).


We know that needs and situations change. If you do not qualify for Adult Social Care Services support we would ask you or your carers to contact us if your situation changes or your difficulties increase and we will reassess.


After eligibility has been determined we will also establish whether or not you meet the ordinary residence requirement. This applies differently to people with needs and their carers. In the case of an adult with care needs they must be ordinarily resident in Bedford. In the cases of a carer, the person for whom they care must be ordinarily resident in Bedford.  In either case determining ordinary residence will not lead to a delay in meeting your eligible needs.


Points to remember

  • We will always assess needs before we arrange and pay for services. Sometimes we do this by telephone and sometimes in person by visiting people. It depends on your individual situation.
  • If you have needs we can only arrange services for people who qualify for our help, but we will in all cases provide information and advice if you do not meet the eligibility criteria.  
  • The service we provide will be reviewed on a regular basis and adjusted according to your needs and assessment.
  • Everybody will receive a financial assessment and benefits advice.
  • Most people pay a contribution towards the cost of residential or nursing home care. We may ask people who qualify for home care or day services to pay a charge, based on their income and savings, towards the cost. People who have less income than the allowance we make for their expenses do not need to pay.


Contact Us

Tel:           01234 267422

Address: Adult Care Services
                 Bedford Borough Council
                 Borough Hall
                 Cauldwell Street
                 MK42 9AP

Email:     care@bedford.gov.uk


Related leaflets

A guide to who qualifies for Adult Social Care services - eligibility criteria

Paying for care - Non-residential care services

Paying for care - residential or nursing care

Paying for care - residential and nursing care deferred payment scheme

Putting People First - Self Directed Support explained

Direct payments

Paying for Long Term Care in England



Eligibility Policy

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Health and Social Care

Bedford Borough Council is responsible for social care services within the borough. This section explains how we support people of all ages who may need care either at home or in another setting.


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