Carers' Rights and Assessments
The purpose of this factsheet is to inform carers of their rights and ensure that the reader is updated about carers’ rights and entitlements.
Am I a Carer?
“Caring” for someone can mean several different things. Broadly speaking a carer is a person who provides care for someone who, because of old age, disability, a long-term illness, mental health condition, or addiction, is not able to care for themselves without support. The type of care you give may include: washing, dressing, bathing, feeding, supervision, ensuring safety, helping someone manage their financial/domestic affairs, or mental health support. Millions of people in the UK provide this form of unpaid care and support to an adult family member or friend either in their own home or somewhere else. As from April 2015 the Care Act 2014 means you are considered a carer if you provide any of these forms of support to an adult aged 18 or over, and you may be able to access services to help you in your caring role.
As a carer, you have a right to have your own support needs assessed by the local authority even if the person you care for is not receiving care and support services. If you live in a different local authority to the person you care for you need to ask for support and advice from the local authority the cared for person lives in. If you share the care of a friend or relative with someone else, you are both entitled to individual assessments. Support for carers may be in the form of services, help and advice available from the local authority, national organisations or charities, or local networks.
The Care Act 2014 gives local authorities a responsibility to assess a carer’s needs for support, where the carer appears to have such needs because of the impact of their caring role on their own health and wellbeing, work responsibilities or family lifestyle. This process is called a “Carers’ Assessment”.
Carers can be eligible for support as set out in the Care & Support Regulations 2014, but need to meet all three conditions first, in similar way as the person needing care must. A carer should apply for help from the LA in which the person they care for lives, not the area in which they live (if different).
You can also ask that the person you care for has their needs assessed but they would need to give their permission for this to take place and agree to services for them to be put in place which may help ease your caring role. If they refuse to have their needs assessed or have services put in place, you are still entitled to have your own caring needs assessed for the impact caring has on your health, wellbeing, family and work commitments. If your needs do not meet the eligibility criteria then the local authority should inform you of other sources of information, support and advice available locally.
This approach is like that used for assessing adults with care and support needs. More information about this is available on our Help & Care factsheet “Planning your care and support”. Contact 0300 111 3303 to ask for a copy or download it from our website https://www.helpandcare.org.uk/services/information-and-signposting/factsheets/
A Carers’ Assessment does not involve a financial assessment of your finances, but you may be asked if your caring role has any current financial impact on your finances. The local authority may charge for some of the services they offer. The local authority needs to be informed if there are any changes in your circumstances, or those of the person you care for that may affect the levels of support available. As a carer, it is important that your health and wellbeing is maintained and that you are supported in your caring role. Each local authority has a Carers Co-ordinator or Case Worker who can offer help, information and support. For further details contact your local Adult Social Care office for further information about caring. If you live within the county of Dorset contact your Adult Social Care Team on:
Bournemouth Care Direct: 01202 454979
Poole Helpdesk: 01202 633902
Dorset Direct: 01305 221016
You can also call the Adult Social Care out-of-office-hours Emergency Duty Team on 01202 657279. Further information is available from the pan-Dorset local authority website www.mylifemycare.com .