June 23, 2021

If you’re a carer, do you know your rights?

This post was written by: Ilinca Mardarescu

The Care Act 2014 recognises that supporting carers is of equal importance to supporting the people they care for. Therefore, since the implementation of this Act, carers rights have been put on a similar footing to the rights of disabled adults. 

A carer is someone who gives support and care to an adult who is their partner, child, friend or another close relative. Under the Act, the local authority must consider the well-being of the carer and consider whether there are steps it can take to prevent, reduce or delay any needs the carer has. 

Assessment of a carers needs

S 10 of the Care Act 2014 provides that where it appears to a local authority that a carer may have needs for support now or in the future, the local authority has a duty to carry out an assessment of those needs. Neither the carers or the disabled adult’s financial resources or the level of need of support will be taken into account in making the assessment. It is still possible to have an assessment if the person that is being cared for is not receiving local authority support, or if the person being cared for doesn’t live in the same local authority area as the carer. 

How does the assessment work? 

Your local authority must offer advice and support regarding carers right to an assessment to everyone in their local area. 

  • Most local authorities will require the carer to complete an online self-assessment. However, if required this can be over the telephone, on paper, or face to face instead.
  • The assessment will be looked at by a trained person from the local authority or another organisation so they can understand the carers needs and how they can be met.

The eligibility criteria

  • The local authority will then apply eligibility criteria to the needs of the carers needs to see which ones are eligible for support. 
  • The local authority will need to understand whether your mental or physical health are affected now, or are at risk of being affected in the future. 
  • They will also look at whether you are unable to look after children, care for other people who want you to, look after your home, prepare food and look after your diet, have personal relationships, take part in education, work or volunteering, or find time for social activities. If these factors combined are impacting your wellbeing you may be eligible for support. 
  • After applying the eligibility criteria has been applied, the local authority carries out a financial assessment which will help them to provide the necessary support for the carer. 

How can the local authority support a carer’s needs? 

If the assessment shows that the carer has eligible needs then the local authority will implement a support plan which identifies what the carer’s needs are and how they will be met. The support plan is an agreement between the carer and the local authority, and will generally be in the form of direct payments to the carer who can then arrange and pay for their own support. The support plan is usually reviewed 6-8 weeks after it is agreed, and then at-least once every 12 months. 

Young Carers 

Section 63 and 64 of the Care Act 2014 provides that where a young carer is likely to have needs for support after turning 18, the local authority must carry out a ‘young carer’s assessment’. Within this, the local authority considers whether the young person is willing to provide care beyond the age of 18, the amount that the young carer would like to work or participate in education and the impact that providing care may have on the carer. 

Once the young carer’s assessment has been carried out, the local authority must indicate whether the young carer is likely to meet the eligibility criteria once they are 18. They must also offer advice and information about meeting or reducing the young carer’s needs for support, or about preventing or delaying further needs which may develop.

Parent carers of children

The Children and Families Act 2014 gives parent carer’s the right to a stand-alone assessment and right to services. This assessment is called a ‘parent carer’s needs assessment’; the local authority must assess whether that parent has support needs. Once the local authority has done this and assessed what the needs are they must identify the support and services available to help the carer and their family. 

For more information on the rights of carer’s, get in touch with our supportive team to help. 

Sources: https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/carers-assessment-under-the-care-act-2014/