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The emotional nature of caring means many people don’t like asking for help, but receiving some much-needed support can make a world of difference.
If you’re a carer for a family member or someone else, a carer’s assessment exists to see what help can make your life easier. This assessment is for adult carers of other adults (over 18 years old) who are disabled, ill or elderly.
Below, we’ve looked at what this type of assessment is, whether you’re eligible, how they work and the support you can expect to receive.
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A carer’s assessment is for carers over 18 years old who are looking after another adult who is disabled, ill or elderly. This is a chance to record the impact caring has on your life and what support or services you need.
Along with assessing the needs of the person you care for, your local council’s social service department will likely also give you a carer’s assessment. This assessment figures out if you need any help in your caring role.
Though a carer’s assessment often takes place alongside a care needs assessment, you can get one of these regardless of whether the person you care for is having their needs assessed or not.
A carer’s assessment may recommend things like:
You’re classed as a carer if you regularly look after someone because they’re ill, disabled or an older adult. Carers help with:
Any carer who appears to require support and is aged over 18 can be assessed by their local council through a carer’s assessment.
You’ll be entitled to this assessment, regardless of the amount or what type of care you provide, your financial means or how much support you require.
You don’t necessarily have to be living with the person you’re caring for or be caring full-time to have this assessment either. You could be juggling work and care, with this having a sizeable impact on your life.
You can still have an assessment if the person you’re caring for hasn’t had a care needs assessment, or if the local council has deemed them as ineligible for support. If you and the person you’re caring for agree, a combined assessment of both of your needs can be undertaken at the same time.
If you’re splitting caring responsibilities with somebody else (or more than one other person), you can each have an assessment.
You should be offered a carer’s assessment by the local council adult social services department of the person you’re caring for.
If you haven’t been offered one, contact adult social services at your local council and make a request.
You can either call, do this online or write to them.
If you wish, you can also ask for an assessment before beginning a caring role.
If you’re a parent or carer of a child, contact the ‘children with disabilities department’ of your local council.
During a carer’s assessment, someone from the council (or an organisation the council works with) will ask how you’re coping with caring and how it affects your life on a daily basis.
To be able to receive services and/or direct payments from the local council, you’ll need to meet the national eligibility criteria and have what’s known as ‘eligible needs’.
Generally, you’ll meet the eligibility criteria if there is (or is likely to be) a significant impact on your wellbeing as a result of your caring for somebody else.
There are three questions the local council will consider when making their decision on your eligibility:
A carer’s assessment is normally face-to-face, though some councils can do it online or over the phone. Assessments will usually last an hour or more.
To be ready for a carer’s assessment, you’ll need:
It’s also worth thinking about the following questions and whether being a carer is impacting these things in your life:
The local council will get in touch to tell you the results of the carer’s assessment.
If you qualify for council assistance, they’ll write you a care plan and support plan which outlines how they can help. This plan will include who will provide each particular bit of support.
If the local council decides you do have eligible needs, they then have a legal obligation to meet these needs (assuming you want them) and must draw up a support plan explaining how these needs will be met.
The support plan must include:
You and the council may agree that the best way to help you as a carer is by:
The local council can either provide services themselves or arrange services through a different organisation. Another common route is for you or the person you’re looking after to request direct payments. These are payments that enable you to buy services to meet your eligible needs.
The local council may or may not charge you for carers support (most don’t). If they do, they must carry out a financial assessment to work out if you need to contribute and if so, how much. If the help you’re offered is free, no financial assessment is required.
You must be given a written explanation if the local council decides you don’t have eligible needs.
You must also be given advice and information about what could be done to prevent or reduce your needs, either now or in the future. This advice and information will be tailored to your specific circumstances.
If you don’t agree with the results of your carer’s assessment or the way it was carried out, you can complain.
Start this process by contacting your local council. They should have a formal complaints procedure on their website. You should also have been told how to complain during your assessment.
If you feel as though the council doesn’t properly handle your complaint, you can take it to the local government and social care ombudsman.
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