The University cannot provide any elements of personal care so you should start making arrangements as far in advance as possible. 12 to 15 months before you plan to go to university is a good time to start making arrangements. If you have less time, don’t worry – it’s still possible to get the right support but you will need to take some proactive steps.
We need to let you know that the University can’t provide any elements of personal care. If you are assessed as requiring personal care and for any reason this can’t be provided to you, (for instance if a carer becomes ill and someone else isn’t available to provide cover), the University cannot replicate that care. In these circumstances it may be necessary for you to make other arrangements to get the support you need. This may include you leaving campus temporarily to stay with family or friends until the situation can be resolved. Based on experience up to now this is an infrequent occurrence and hopefully will not affect you, however we do need you to be aware of this and we will work with you to minimise any impact on your studies.
Personal assistants are either employed by the local authority or by you through a ‘direct payment’. Personal assistants carry out the care component of the package, which may include:
- domestic duties such as cooking, cleaning and shopping
- personal hygiene
- basic medical needs such as injections
What are personal care packages?
Personal care packages are the services and equipment that local authorities provide for disabled people, including students, who need care. When a person who has a disability requires personal care, the local social services department carries out a health and social care assessment, which should focus on your individual needs. This is called an ‘Assessment of Need.’ Health and social services teams then put together a personal care package, which may include healthcare, equipment or personal assistance.
Personal care packages are reviewed after the first three months and after that annually. They are funded via a ‘personal budget’.
Who is responsible for providing personal care?
When you go to university, the responsibility to fund your personal care package rests with the local authority where you are ‘ordinarily resident.’ This means deciding where you feel more settled and where you have the strongest ties. For many students this is the local authority they are coming from. This might be because they go back home during the holidays, their parents, friends and family are based there and/or they plan to return after graduating.
However, if you move to the local authority area where the University is located and have no intention of permanently returning to your previous local authority, this may mean changing where you are ‘ordinarily resident’.
The presumption is that your personal care will be funded by the local authority you are coming from. If, however, you wish to settle in the new local authority area (perhaps you wish to stay there after graduation) you will need to contact them instead.
It can be complicated transferring between two local authorities and you may need to get in contact with Disability Rights UK and other organisations to provide you with all the information you need.
If you need adapted living space and overnight care, please have a look at the additional information on the adapted accommodation section of this page.
You may already have a personal care package in place. However, going to university may mean that you need to go through the process again because of your change of circumstances.
At the assessment, a specialist – often an Occupational Therapist – looks at your individual needs and discusses them with you. This is so that the right support can be provided. Services you may need include healthcare, equipment or support from a personal assistant.
The social services team will then put together a package of support. They will discuss this with you and write a care plan. This may include services from both private and voluntary organisations.
The types of support you need may change over time and so your care plan should be reviewed regularly. An initial review should be carried out after three months, and then once every year. If you feel that your needs have changed you can also contact social services for a reassessment.
When you have been assessed you will receive an allocation of funding, this money is known as a personal budget. The personal budget is used to buy (commission) your package and you have three options.
- have the budget paid directly to yourself (see direct payment below)
- leave the responsibility of commissioning and paying for services with your local authority
- have a combination of both of the above
You can decide to have your personal budget paid directly to you. This enables you to buy the services and equipment that has been agreed in your care plan. This is sometimes called ‘self-directed support.’
If you decide to have direct payments, you will also take on the responsibility of employing people and dealing with tax and national insurance. You can find out more about employing people using direct payments support organisations, for example, Independent Living Alternatives, or a local charitable organisation like West Lancashire Peer Support. Although we have no connections with these services and don’t endorse them, we are aware that they can support you with the administration of being an employer.
It can be quite complicated negotiating your personal care package. However you can get lots of support, information and guidance from various different sources.
Support directly related to your studies in higher education. For example, communication support workers, note takers and other non-medical assistance you may need to get the most out of your course. You need to apply to Disabled Students’ Allowance. It’s best to start applying for study-related support at the same time as you apply to university and ideally no later than six months before the course starts. We have lots of information on disabled students’ allowance section on this page.
The study-related support you need as a disabled student is usually funded by Disabled Students’ Allowances (DSAs).
Students who have expenses for which they cannot get funding from any other source may apply to charitable trusts. For example, the Snowdon Award Scheme provides grants directly to disabled students to help cover costs that are not met by statutory funding.
It is a good idea to know your rights when organising personal care and support as well as the legal duties and responsibilities that organisations such as Local Authorities and universities have. For more information and guidance, you can contact the Disability Rights UK helpline.
Citizens Advice helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice.
Information on publicly funded services, such as Student Finance, person care assistance and benefits.
Get in touch
It is also a good idea to speak to the Inclusion team at Edge Hill University. It is possible that we have dealt with similar enquiries before and may be able to help.