How adult social care works

Find out what social care is, the types of social care available in Suffolk, and how to access the right care and support for you or someone you look after.

What is social care?

Social care services can help you if you:

  • need practical support due to illness or disability
  • care for someone because of their illness or disability

You may benefit from social care if you're:

  • finding it harder to live independently in your own home
  • unable to find help yourself, for example from your family, your naturally connected network, local services or your community

Help to understand the most commonly used words in health and social care with the jargon buster.

Types of social care

Social care services can include things like:

  • adaptations, equipment and gadgets to support you to live as independently as possible at home
  • care and support in your own home or to help you to access the community
  • care in a care home
  • a direct payment to help you arrange your own care and support
  • different types of housing, such as supported housing or extra care housing

Who pays for social care?

In Suffolk, social care and support services are usually paid for either:

  • privately by you or your family
  • by the local authority (Suffolk County Council) when you're eligible for support

Eligibility for support is established by a financial assessment to work out how much, if anything, you will have to contribute towards this cost yourself.

If you have less than £23,250 in savings, we may be able to pay toward your care partly or in full. Your savings do not include the value of your property unless you're moving into a care home.

If you have more than £23,250 in savings, you'll need to pay for your care. Find out more about paying for care.

Do I need social care?

If you think you or someone else may need care or support, the first step is to understand your needs and how you might find help yourself.

You can take undertake the self-assessment to find out about:

  • what care or support needs do you have
  • equipment and services that could help you stay at home for longer  
  • community groups, clubs and activities to help maintain your health and independence
  • whether you're eligible for financial support from the council towards any care costs
  • how to request social care support if you need it 

We encourage people in Suffolk to try to help themselves before contacting social care services.

Many people find there are options to stay active, and independent and live in their own home without social care from their council. You can find help to stay at home and support in your area

If you need support from us

If your self-assessment answers suggest that you'd benefit from a full assessment of your care needs, you can request support from us. This may lead to a care and support assessment and access to social care. 

The Care Act 2014 sets out local authorities' duties in relation to assessing people’s needs and their eligibility for publicly funded care and support. Suffolk County Council works within this Act when assessing for social care. You can find out more about our approach

You can read our commitment to keeping social care services personal: 

Care and support from ACS

If you meet the national eligibility criteria, ACS is responsible for:

  • working with you to create a support plan
  • putting in place a personal budget for you to purchase care and support

If you do not meet the national eligibility criteria but still have needs, we have a responsibility to guide you to relevant services, activities and information to help prevent your needs from becoming worse

Help if you look after someone

If you look after someone regularly because they're ill or disabled, you're probably a carer.

You can find more information about help for carers in Suffolk, including assessments and respite.