Find out how to apply for a carer's assessment, and know what to expect when you get one.
On this page we give you information about:
1. How to apply for a carer's assessment
2. Preparing for a carer’s assessment
3. What to expect from a carer's assessment
How to apply for a carer's assessment
Anyone who needs support with their caring duties should be offered a carer’s assessment (for more information see What is a carer's assessment?). If you haven’t been offered one, you can request one by:
- Contacting the local authority where the person you care for lives – you can use our Care services directory to search for support services by postcode, then click on the drop-down page for local authority services
- Being referred by your GP
- Being referred by a friend or family member.
You can contact the local authority by phone, email or online to request an assessment. If you need more information about how your local authority carries out the carer’s assessment, check out their website or give them a call. Once you’ve made a request, you should be given an appointment for your assessment for a time and place that is convenient for you (see ‘What to expect from a carer’s assessment’, below).
Preparing for a carer’s assessment
Preparation is key and can boost your chances of a successful outcome. Once you have your assessment booked, collect all the relevant information, and think about the key issues. You will need:
• your NHS number (if you have one)
• your GP's name, address and phone number
• contact details of anyone who is supporting you with your assessment; this could be a family member, friend or a professional carer's support worker
• the name, address, date of birth and NHS number of the person you care for
• your email address.
Use our Checklist: preparing for a carer's assessment to help focus your thoughts before the meeting. It might also help if you are asked to fill in a questionnaire in advance of the meeting.
What to expect from a carer's assessment
Who will do it?
The carer's assessment is organised by social services and is carried out by a trained social worker, another professional (such as an occupational therapist) or a local voluntary organisation. The local authority should explain this to you in advance of the assessment.
Where will it be carried out?
Most assessments are carried out in a face-to-face meeting. This should be in a private place, either at your home or in the social services office. Some local authorities offer the option to have the assessment over the phone or online. The meeting should take place at a time and place that is convenient for you.
Can I take someone with me?
You can include the person you are caring for at the meeting if you wish. However, this doesn't have to be the case. You can also ask for a family member, friend or a professional carer's support worker to attend - let the person who is interviewing you know this in advance.
Think carefully about who you'll ask to attend with you. If the person you care for is present throughout the assessment, will you feel able to talk freely? If you have doubts about this, ask for a separate assessment if the person you are caring for is also receiving their own needs assessment.
What does the assessment involve?
The assessment is a discussion to look at how caring affects your life, including your physical, mental and emotional needs. The following areas should be covered in the interview:
- your caring role
- your feelings and choices about caring
- your health
- your work
- other family commitments
- what you enjoy doing to relax
- planning for emergencies
- whether you are willing or able to carry on in your caring role.
If any of the above issues aren't discussed, make sure you raise them yourself if they are relevant.
What should I tell them?
Be honest about your caring role and how it affects your life. Don’t try to put on a brave face, play down your responsibilities or be too optimistic. It’s best to be realistic about the situation, including the limits of the care you are willing and able to provide. If you don’t spell out your limitations, you could be left with an undue level of responsibility. If you aren’t honest about the impact on your life, you could miss out on valuable help and support.
What should happen afterwards?
When the assessment is complete, the local authority will decide whether your needs are ‘eligible’ for support. If you don't have eligible needs, then you should be given a written decision explaining this.
If you do have eligible needs, the local authority must offer support to meet these needs. You can decide if you want to accept the offered support or not. Details of your eligible needs and how these will be met should be written up in a support plan.
You should get a copy of your support plan, without having to ask for it. Check that you are happy with the support plan and that it identifies your needs correctly. If you are unhappy, speak to the person who carried out the assessment.
What if I am unhappy with my support plan?
You have a right to appeal the support plan if you are unhappy with the process and feel that the assessment was inaccurate or unfair. Make a formal complaint to your local authority social services department. It should give you a copy of the relevant complaints procedure if you ask for it. For more information, see our advice on challenging a local authority assessment.
Page last reviewed: July 2017
Next review due: January 2020