Whats in this section?

Whats in this section?

Who is a carer?

A carer regularly looks after, helps or supports someone who wouldn’t be able to manage everyday life without their help. You don’t have to be living with the person that you care for 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 over 60.
  • Is living with dementia.
  • Has a physical disability, learning disability, or a mental health condition.
  • Has sight, hearing or communication difficulties.
  • Suffers with a long-term health condition.
  • Has a drug or alcohol dependency.

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.
  • Emotional support or communicating.

Becoming a carer

If you provide regular, unpaid support to someone who could not manage without your help, 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 is called a carers’ assessment and gives you the chance to tell your local authority what you need as a carer and to find out what support is available to help you.

Your local authority, or a carers’ organisation partnered with the council, will assess what needs as a carer may be. This assessment is not a test of your abilities as a carer.

The assessment will consider:

  • The impact of caring on you.
  • What difficulties you may be facing and how you manage them.
  • Things that you want to achieve in your day-to-day life.

It also considers other important issues, such as whether you are able or willing to carry on caring, whether you work or want to work, and whether you want to study or do more socially.

Your GP may be able to offer you additional support, even if you aren’t eligible for support from the council. Download our information guide to see how your GP might help.

Carers’ eligibility criteria

National carer’s eligibility criteria will be used to determine if your needs meet the requirements. If you have eligible needs the assessor will discuss the options available to meet those needs. If your needs are not eligible you will be given information and advice suitable for your need instead.

The council uses three questions to work out whether carers are eligible for support:

  1. Do your needs arise because you are providing necessary care for an adult?
  2. Do these needs mean you are unable to achieve any of the tasks or ‘outcomes’ below?
  3. As a result of this, is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?

You need to meet all three of the criteria to be eligible.


The outcomes that will be looked at when assessing your needs include determining whether you are able to:

  • Care for any children or other people you are responsible for, as well as the adult you are caring for.
  • Maintain a habitable and safe home environment for yourself.
  • Manage your own nutrition.
  • Maintain other personal relationships, including with your family.
  • Take part in work, training, education or volunteering.
  • Make use of facilities or services in your local community.
  • Have free time for hobbies and relaxation.

Respite services for carers

Carer and elderly lady

Respite services offer support for carers to take a break from their caring responsibilities so you can have some time off, these breaks could be regular or just when needed, and can be as short as an afternoon or as long as a few weeks.

As respite is considered to be a service for the person you care for, as the replacement support is provided for them, as such if they have a personal budget or direct payment for their own needs they could use that money to pay for it. Whether the person being cared for will need to pay towards the cost of this service will depend on a financial assessment.

Replacement support could mean the person you care for living in a care home for a short period or hiring a live-in care service or home care agency to come in and look after the person you care for. This would also depend on a financial assessment of the person being cared for.

You may be given a carers’ direct payment to pay towards the cost of a holiday or trip out if you have had a carers’ assessment and it has found that you are eligible for a short break or respite.

If you are caring for someone and need some support, you can find details of your local carers’ centre here.

You can find details of adult day care centres here.

You can search for respite care here.

Benefits for carers

You may be eligible for carers allowance if you care for someone for more than 35 hours a week and that person is receiving certain benefits, such as Personal Independence Payments or Disability Living Allowance.

The rate for Carer’s Allowance is set at £64.60 per week. This may change after April 2019. You can claim Carer’s Allowance online on the Gov.UK website.

If you care for someone for 20 hours a week or more you may also qualify for Carer’s Credit.

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