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If you regularly care for another person, you can ask for an assessment of your needs to see if you are eligible to receive support. This is called a carer’s assessment.

Following changes to the Care Act on 1 April 2015 carers' rights were extended so that more family carers in England can receive government assessment and support. 

On this page:

1. Who is eligible for a carer's assessment in England?
2. What support can I get from the carer's assessment in England?
3. Carer's assessment elsewhere in the UK

Who is eligible for a carer's assessment in England?

Anyone who provides care and feels they might benefit from some support will be entitled to an assessment. As is the case for an individual receiving care, the local authority will determine whether the carer has eligible needs based on a nationally-set threshold.

If you are caring for another adult, you will be eligible for support from the local authority if:

  • your physical or mental health is at risk of deteriorating, or
  • you are unable to maintain family and other relationships or engage in recreational activities, among other specified areas, which is having a significant impact on your wellbeing.

If you think you meet these criteria, there are two ways that your needs can be assessed:

Joint assessment, where you are assessed as part of the cared-for person’s assessment. This should ascertain the level of care that you are willing and able to provide. If you have needs that meet the council’s criteria, the council has a legal duty to meet those needs, subject to financial assessment.

Separate assessment: if you are providing 'regular and substantial amounts' of care, the impact on your life, such as on your work, education and leisure, can also be assessed.

What support can I get from the carer's assessment in England?

Following the carer’s assessment, the support you could be given includes alternative care for your relative so that you can have a break and it could also include support to make your life easier. 

Examples of alternative care for your relative

  • A sitting service, when someone can sit with your relative to supervise them for a while.
  • Respite care for your relative, such as at a day care centre or residential care for a short period, so that you can take a break or have a holiday.

Examples of support for you

  • A carer’s training session, maybe in lifting and handling techniques.
  • Gym membership and leisure classes to relieve stress.
  • Computers and training courses to aid starting or returning to paid work.
  • Taxi fares, if you don't drive, to help with travel.
  • Help with domestic routines, such as gardening and housework.

You could also be eligible for Carer's allowance.

Carer's assessment elsewhere in the UK

In Northern Ireland, carers are assessed at the same time as the person they are caring for to ensure all the necessary information is gathered together to plan effective home care services.

In Scotland, refer to this guide for getting help by Carers UK. 

In Wales, the Social Services and Wellbeing Act provides for all carers to be able to access community-based preventative and support services without the need for formalised assessments. Any carer who appears to have eligible support needs is entitled to a carer's assessment, with the support plan centred around achieving the outcomes the carer themselves has identified. 

Downloadable guide

Helping loved ones in later life is an introduction to the different care choices available. Perhaps you're looking for ways to help a relative to stay living at home, or maybe one (or both) of your parents or a partner want to move into somewhere offering sheltered or residential care. We explain the choices and how to find out more.

More information

  • Benefits for carers: government support you might also be entitled to.
  • Respite care: find out about the respite care options that are available.
  • Care services directory: if you are looking after someone with dementia, our directory tells you about support groups in your area.

Page last reviewed: June 2015
Next review due: July 2017