Services for carers
Who is a carer?
You are a carer if you regularly look after, help or support someone who wouldn’t be able to manage everyday life without your help. You don’t have to be living with the person, and the help you give doesn’t have to be physical. You may be caring for a partner, another relative, a
friend or a neighbour. For example, it may be someone who:
• is an older person (over 60);
• is living with dementia;
• has a physical disability, learning disability, or a mental-health condition;
• has sight, hearing or communication difficulties;
• has a long-term health condition; or
• has a drug or alcohol problem.
You may be helping them with:
• personal care, such as washing and dressing;
• going to the toilet, or dealing with incontinence;
• eating or feeding, and taking medicines;
• getting about at home or outside;
• practical help at home, keeping them company; or
• emotional support or communicating.
Having a carer’s assessment
If you provide, or intend to provide, regular unpaid support to someone who could not manage without your support, the law says you have a right to have your own needs assessed, even if the person you care for has refused support services or an assessment of their own needs.
This assessment, called a ‘carer’s assessment’, gives you the chance to tell us what you need as
a carer, and to find out what support might be available to help you. The carer’s assessment is an essential first step in getting the support you may need. It looks at:
• the care you provide and how your caring responsibilities affect your life;
• any support you are getting now and what else you think would help you; and
• what you would like your support to achieve.
The assessment can also give you lots of information about other services that might help you, and other ideas for supporting you in your caring role. Your carer’s assessment will show if you
qualify for support services from Adult Services.
Carers’ personal budgets
The carer’s personal budget is a single payment that can be used towards the cost of something specific that will support you in your caring role. For example, you could use it for leisure activities, education or training, improving your own health or wellbeing, or just to take a short break from caring.
When Adult Services consider a carer’s personal budget, they give priority to situations where
there is a significant risk of the carer not being able to continue providing care if they do not
get some support. The amount you could get will depend on your needs identified by your carer’s assessment. You will not pay tax on the money and it will not affect any benefits you get.
You cannot use the payment to buy personal care for the person you care for, such as help to wash, dress or use the toilet. You cannot use it to pay for goods or services you have already bought, or for everyday living costs such as food, heating, lighting, council tax, rent or mortgage payments.
Respite at home
The home-based respite service gives carers a break from their caring responsibilities. A care worker would come in to look after the person you care for, so you can have some time to yourself. The breaks could be regular or just when you need them. Respite at home is considered to be a service for the person you care for. So if they have a personal budget for their own needs (see page 8) they could use that money to pay for it. A financial assessment of the person being cared for will confirm whether they need to pay towards the cost of this service.
When Adult Services talk to you about your needs (at the carer’s assessment), they will look at
whether they can offer this service.
Benefits you may be entitled to
If you care for someone for at least 35 hours a week (and you are over 16) you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. This can be payable if the person you care for is receiving Attendance Allowance or Constant Attendance Allowance (paid with Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
or a War Pension), if they are over 65 and receiving Disability Living Allowance care component (at the highest or middle rate), or if they are aged between 16 and 64, and receiving the new
Personal Independence Payment. The Carer’s Allowance rate for 2013/14 is £59.75 a week. This
figure may change over the life of this Directory.
However, you cannot claim it if you are in fulltime education or employment, and it can affect other benefits or pension you receive.
If you are over 65 you may qualify for Carer’s Premium. This can entitle you to an increased amount of income-related benefits (such as Pension Credit, Council Tax Benefit and Housing
Carer’s Credit is a National Insurance credit which will let carers build up qualifying years for the basic State Pension and additional State Pension. This means that there will be no gaps in your National Insurance record if you have to take on caring responsibilities. You may be able to get Carer’s Credit if:
• you provide care for one or more disabled person(s) for a total of 20 hours or more each
• you are not already getting Carer’s Allowance.
There are a number of local voluntary organisations providing information, advice and
support to carers.
Essex Carers Support
Essex Carers Support is an independent organisation, supporting informal, unpaid and family carers in Essex. They provide information, advice and guidance to carers in Colchester, Tendring and Castle Point districts. They provide advocacy to carers in Braintree, Epping, Harlow, Basildon and Rochford.
Tel: 01255 474410
Southend Carers’ Forum
Southend Carers’ Forum aims to support, inform and represent the needs of all carers living within the borough of Southend-on-Sea.
Tel: 01702 393933
The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care have merged to create Carers Trust, a new charity designed to improve support, services and recognition for people caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend. On their website, you can find support in your area.
Tel: 0844 800 4361 • Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crossroads Care aims to improve the lives of carers by giving them a break from their caring responsibilities and provide a reliable, tailored service for each carer and the person they care for.
Crossroads Care Essex
Tel: 01268 881130
The Carers Direct national helpline can help unpaid carers by providing information, advice and support as well as practical guidance on how to access the services that carers may need.
Tel: 0808 802 0202