Are you a carer? Know your rights

Published 5 Nov 2018

Are you a carer? Know your rights

If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer's assessment.

It might recommend things like:

someone to take over caring so you can take a break
gym membership and exercise classes to relieve stress
help with taxi fares if you don't drive
help with gardening and housework
training how to lift safely
putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
advice about benefits for carers

A carer's assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one.

It's separate from the needs assessment the person you care for might have, but you can ask to have them both done at the same time.

How to get a carer's assessment

Contact adult social services at your local council and ask for a carer's assessment.

If you're a parent carer or a child, contact the children with disabilities department.

You can call or do it online.

How to tell if you're a carer

You're a carer if you're looking after someone regularly because they're ill, elderly or disabled – including family members.

Carers help with:

washing, dressing or taking medicines
getting out and about and travelling to doctors' appointments
shopping, cleaning and laundry
paying bills and organising finances

They can also give emotional support by:

sitting with someone to keep them company
watching over someone if they can't be left alone
All of these count as being a carer.

What happens in the carer's assessment

Someone from the council, or an organisation the council works with, will ask how you're coping with caring.

This includes how it affects your physical and mental health, work, free time and relationships.

The assessment is usually face to face. Some councils can do it over the phone or online.

Assessments usually last at least an hour.

How to prepare for your carer's assessment

You'll need:

your NHS number (if you have one)
your GP's name, address and phone number
contact details of anyone who's coming to the assessment with you
the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the person you care for (if you have it)
your email address

Give as much detail as you can about the impact caring for someone is having on your life. This willl help make sure you get all the help and support you need.

Which? Elderly Care has a checklist of questions to help you prepare for a carer's assessment, regardless of your age.

Have someone with you

It can help if you have someone with you during the assessment. This could be the person you care for, a friend or relative.

You could also use an advocate. Advocates are people who speak up on your behalf.

They can help you fill in forms and sit with you in meetings and assessments. They're often free.

Find an advocate in your area

If you want to talk to someone about carer's assessments, call:

your local council's adult social services department
Carers Direct's free helpline on 0300 123 1053
Age UK's free helpline on 0800 055 6112
Independent Age's free helpline on 0800 319 6789
Contact a Family's free helpline on 0808 808 3555

Getting the results

You'll usually get the results of the assessment within a week.

If you qualify for help from the council, they'll write a care and support plan with you that sets out how they can help.

Help with costs

Your council might be able to help with the costs. You might need a financial assessment (means test) first. This will be arranged for you after the carer’s assessment.

You might also qualify for benefits for carers that can help with costs.

If you don't qualify for help from your council
If you're told you don't qualify for help and support, your council should give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. Ask if this doesn't happen.

How to complain about a carer's assessment

If you disagree with the results of your carer's assessment or how it was done, you can complain.

First complain to your local council. Your council should have a formal complaints procedure on its website. You should also be told about how to complain at your assessment.

If you're not happy with the way the council handles your complaint, you can take it to the local government and social care ombudsman. An ombudsman is an independent person who's been appointed to look into complaints about organisations.



on 19/11/2018
Whilst this sounds too good to be true it would be interesting to find out how many local authorities throughout the country are conducting carers' assessments as a matter of course. Another aspect to consider would be that even if you are fortunate to get an assessment it may not be all you need because of financial constraints. One way to use any money derived from a such an assessment would be to consider using it to fund a direct payment which in essence allows you to use it as you wish (as long as it's legal!!) Sorry if this sounds pessimistic but we live in the Real World. Having said this, through perserverance and partnership with the statutory sector our son (he has a severe learning disability, is autistic and non-verbal) has a care package which suits his needs and allows him as much independence as is possible. Good lu k and go for it!!
on 19/11/2018

@Sundaze18 I am glad that your son is getting the care package that he needs and hopefully the local authorities are properly carrying carer's assessments. 

It would be interesting to hear from any members who have done this assessment to see what they thought of it and if it benefited them.

on 20/11/2018

The Carer's help for those under 18 are done by your local council normally poor quality joke that most children won't use. You can get Carer's Allowance and the application is quite easy done online, surprisingly simple to fill in and apply. As for getting assistance from the NHS and Council services if the patient is in hospital there will be assessors on the ward and in the hospital that can assess your needs. More difficult in your home but going through the GP can be quickest as they have all the contacts. All means tested so don't expect a lot of help if high income, their high is very low. 

on 01/01/2019

I am a carer for my disabled father who has Alzheimer’s doubly inciontient & now practically blind he is bed bound & my 80+ year old mother we pay through the nose for inferior carers who never stay their full qota of  time & some times don’t even do what they should have done sometimes they leave the sides of the bed down which if my mother or me didn’t check it could be catastrophic.He has an electric mattress for pressure sores but we are known for power cuts some lasting up 8 hrs in this time his bed goes like a board & we have only been shown after 3 years what to do should this happen it really gets to us that some people get everything provided but because we have all worked I’ve been very illeith epilepsy Septic Gallbladder Gallstones & Kidney Failure several femeral fractures now have osteo Perosis I can not drive never have been able to why didn’t people get told by people who issue you with carers allowance that you are entitled to reduced taxi fares do you have to register with a certain company if so please let me know where to contact for this Thank You Sharon 

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