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:
- Do your needs arise because you are providing necessary care for an adult?
- Do these needs mean you are unable to achieve any of the tasks or ‘outcomes’ below?
- 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
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.
Young Carers Support
Caring for another can be a stressful and isolating task, for young people especially, some of which start helping out with care from an early age. This can impact their education and life experiences, leaving a lasting impact.
Because of this, there are a number of different types of support available just for young carers in these situations.
What makes a young carer
Every day across the UK thousands of young people help to look after a family member or friend who is ill, disabled, or who is misusing drugs or alcohol.
This can include doing extra jobs around the home such as:
- daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and food shopping
- physical care such as helping a person to move around, lifting them or with physiotherapy
- personal care such as dressing, washing and going to the toilet
- administering medication
- managing the family budget or collecting prescriptions
- interpreting, i.e. if the family member has a hearing or speech impediment, or if English is not their first language
- looking after younger siblings
- emotional support
Young carers can experience a number of effects as a result of these additional responsibilities. The positive effects can include greater understanding and compassion for those with disabilities and illnesses, greater maturity and determination.
However the negative effects of this can often outweigh the positive, these can include:
- missing or struggling with school because of other commitments
- physical pain because of the difficulty of constantly helping to lift the person they’re caring for
- worry and stress over the difficulty of managing their daily lives
- resentment over the loss of their freedom
- loneliness due to not being able to spend time with friends or do other activities
Where to get support for young carers
There are a number of avenues for young people to obtain the support they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle and education while being a carer.
It’s also important to remember a young carer should not have to do the same things as an adult carer. Depending on their needs, all disabled adults are entitled to support from their local council. As a result, they should not have to rely solely on their children to care for them.
If you or your parents request it, a social worker from your local authority must visit to carry out a young carer’s assessment.
These assessments must include:
- whether the young carer is able to provide care for the person in question
- whether the young person is likely to continue to provide care after they turn 18
- the impact of the young carers needs for support, on the individual who needs care
- the young person’s wishes for their own day to day life and future goals
- education, training and leisure opportunities the young person wishes to take part in
The local authority must also consider whether a transition to adult care and support for the individual receiving care will need to take place if the young person stops being able to contribute towards the individual’s care. This could be because of leaving for university, employment or some other reason.
You can find out more information about young carers assessments and how to apply for one on the NHS website.
Young carers benefits
If you are over the age of 16, and not in full-time education, you may be eligible for help finding work.
You could also be eligible for help with your family’s finances, through benefits such as carers allowance (see above), carers credit or carer’s premium, a top-up payment of up to £36 a week, which can be added to other benefits such as income support, jobseekers allowance and universal credit (apply for this through your local JobCentre Plus).
Juggling caring and school
For many young carers, while school can provide a break from life at home, it can also be very challenging to juggle their caring commitments with the home-based study involved in school (e.g. homework etc).
If you’re struggling to keep up with the workload, or falling behind, you should talk to your teacher about this.
It can seem intimidating or uncomfortable to discuss your situation with them, but as your teacher, they want you to succeed. If they know about your caring role, they may be able to provide you with some extra help with your studies.
This can include:
- extra time for school work
- homework support groups during lunch breaks or before/after school
- permission to take emergency calls and messages during class
A GP, nurse or social worker should also be able to help you organise additional support such as drop-in support from a care agency worker for the person you care for so that you don’t have to miss school.