Personal and Nursing Care Scotland - Who's eligible?

Attempting to navigate through the funding process and ascertain if you are entitled to financial assistance can often seem like a complex and at times, confusing process. In Scotland, if you are over the age of 65 you could be eligible for free personal care. 

Free nursing care is available to a person of any age who has been assessed by their local authority as requiring that type of care. 

An assessment should be made by your local authority who will decide what type of care you may require.

What is an Assessment?

Your local authority’s social work department will either undertake or organise an assessment for you. A request for this to happen can be made by yourself, a loved one or your GP and is a requirement of law if requested. The assessment will look at your individual needs and determine how these can be best met. As your needs may change over time, a review should be carried out at regular intervals and especially if any major changes to your circumstances occur (such as a hospital stay).

Unpaid carers who provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis are entitled to a carer’s assessment.

If your local authority has assessed you as needing personal care, nursing care, or both, you will receive this regardless of personal financial circumstances. However, if you already reside in a care home, you will be required to contribute towards any remaining accommodation costs above and beyond this.

Personal Care Assistance Assessment

Personal care assistance can help with a number of different areas of everyday living. Your local social work services access people on an individual basis, with the following areas being looked at in terms of possible care requirement:

  • Personal hygiene requirements
  • Continence management
  • Food and diet assistance
  • Problems with immobility
  • Counseling and support
  • Simple medical treatments - help with taking medication (including eye drops), application of creams/lotions, simple dressings and oxygen therapy
  • Personal assistance (including help with dressing and getting out of/into bed)

There are some personal care services that could be chargeable back to you. These include help with grocery shopping, housework, laundry services, cost-price for providing pre-prepared food and food items (although help with preparation and serving of these will be covered and should be provided for free if this is deemed a requirement for you post-assessment). Your local authority can provide all of these services, however, these are subject to a financial assessment.

If you currently live in a care home, the assessment will determine whether you need any of the above personal care assistance. If your local authority determines that you should receive personal care, they will pay £169 per week (as of April 1 2014) on your behalf directly to your care provider. Payments of free personal and nursing care made by a local authority direct to the care provider are not liable to income tax.

Nursing Care Assistance

If, after an assessment by your local authority you are deemed eligible for nursing care financial assistance and you already live in a care home, you will be entitled to £77 per week (as of April 1 2004). As with the personal care assistance, this will be paid by your local authority, on your behalf, directly to your care provider and will not be liable to income tax.

Free Personal Care at Home

If you still live at home and receive free personal care, you are entitled to attendance allowance. However, if at any point your circumstances change and you move into residential care, this allowance will not be payable after a period of 28 days.

Any changes to your circumstances should be brought to the attention of The Department for Work and Pensions at the earliest opportunity.