Jargon buster: Social care funding

We have identified some social care terms you may come across during your social care funding journey and have provided you with a helpful jargon busting guide.

Jargon buster: Social care funding icon.

Don’t know your EHCP’s to your MCA’s?, the difference between personal budgets and direct payments? Or what an advocate is?

At ECL we understand that navigating your way through the social care funding process can be somewhat confusing, especially when faced with difficult acronyms and social care terms which can be tricky to decipher.

Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)

Outlines any special educational needs a child has, and the provision a local authority must put in place to help them.

Mental Capacity

Means being able to make your own decisions.

Mental Capacity Act (MCA)

Is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment.

Mental Capacity Act >

Mental Capacity Test

A 2-stage test:

  1. Does the person have an impairment of their mind or brain, whether as a result of an illness, or external factors such as alcohol or drug use?
  2. Does the impairment mean the person is unable to make a specific decision when they need to?

Care Needs Assessment

Usually provided by a trained professional within the social services department of your local council. The aim is to work out what help you need with your care, and to think about how you might get it. The assessment is a chance for you to discuss what support you need.


Independent professionals who are trained to help you understand your rights, express your views and wishes, and help make sure your voice is heard. You can be referred by your local council or NHS.

National Eligibility Criteria

A defined threshold that is applied to all local authorities across the country. This process was introduced to ensure all applicants are assessed fairly, using the same criteria, no matter where you live. Your local authority will work closely with you to make a plan, which will identify whether you meet the set criteria to access social care funding.

Eligibility criteria >

Care and Support Plan

A detailed document setting out what services will be provided, , when they will be provided, and who will provide them and how they will meet your needs.

Financial Assessment

Works out if the council will pay towards your care. It looks at how much money you have. It may be that you'll have to pay towards the cost of your care.

Financial assessment >

Personal Budget

The amount of money that the council has calculated is needed to meet your social care needs. It should be included in your care and support plan.

Disability Related Expenditure (DRE)

The extra expense you face because of your disability or illness. If you pay towards your care, the amount you pay may be reduced to make allowance for your DRE.

Person-Centred Care

A process that is people focused, promotes independence, provides choice and control and is based on a collaboration between the person, their family, carers, health and social care professionals and service providers.

Direct Payments

Cash payments from your local authority instead of care services. This can give you much more flexibility and greater control of your support package. However you will have to use your direct payments towards pre-agreed services and may be required to use a pre-payment card.

Direct payments >

NHS Continuing Healthcare

Some people with long-term complex health needs qualify for free care funded solely by the NHS. This can be arranged through your local authority or the NHS.