Paying for care in Northern Ireland

3. Social care needs

Following the community care assessment, the person's needs are reviewed to decide whether they require social care services. The trust will have criteria that help them to decide if a person's needs make them eligible for services the trust provides, arranges or pays for through direct payments (see 'Direct payments' below). The trust may also carry out a financial assessment as part of this process (see below).

If applying eligibility criteria, the trust will consider the risk to the person as a result of their care needs. The trust considers risk in four categories - low, moderate, substantial and critical. These categories are outlined in regional guidance and are available from the relevant trust upon request.

A trust must provide care to people that have been assessed as being at either substantial or critical risk. If someone has a moderate or low risk, the trust is not legally required to provide care or support but should refer the person to voluntary sector organisations where support may be available.