What is a carer’s assessment?
If you care for another person, you can ask for an assessment of your needs to see if you’re eligible to receive support.
Following the implementation of the Care Act 2014 on 1 April 2015, carers’ rights were extended so that carers in England can receive carer’s assessments and support.
We did a carer’s assessment and there, written down, were all the aspects of my life that were affected by being a carer: money, time, health, emotion.
Who is eligible for a carer’s assessment in England?
If you’re 18 years of age or over, and providing care for someone who is over 18, you’re entitled to get a local authority carer’s assessment.
It doesn’t matter how much care you provide or what your financial situation is. If your life is affected by your caring responsibilities, and you need support, you should be offered a carer’s assessment. The assessment will review your needs and decide if you’re eligible for any help.
There are three questions that the local council will need to consider when making their decision:
- Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care?
- Does your caring role have an effect on you?
- Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on your wellbeing?
If the answer to all three questions is yes, you may be eligible for help and support.
As a carer, you are entitled to a carer’s assessment regardless of whether the person you’re looking after has had their own needs assessment or is eligible for support.
Although you’re entitled to a separate carer’s assessment, if you feel it would be easier to combine your carer’s assessment with a needs assessment for the person you’re looking after, then the local authority can carry out a combined assessment, as long as everyone agrees to this.
The carer’s assessment, whether carried out jointly or separately, will assess:
- the level of care that you’re willing and able to provide
- if you’re providing ‘regular and substantial amounts’ of care
- the impact on your life, such as on your work, education and leisure time
- if you have needs that meet the criteria set by the government, your local authority has a legal duty to meet those needs, subject to financial assessment.
How do I apply for a carer’s assessment?
Anyone who needs support with their caring duties should be offered a carer’s assessment.
If you’re eligible and haven’t already been offered one, read our article on getting a carer’s assessment.
How do I prepare for a carer’s assessment?
See our advice about how to get a carer's assessment to help focus your thoughts before the meeting. It might also help if you’re asked to fill in a questionnaire in advance of the meeting.
What support can I get from the carer’s assessment in England?
If, following your carer’s assessment, your local authority decides that you have ‘eligible needs’, it must offer help and support to meet these needs.
It might provide help and support in a variety of ways. For example, it might provide alternative care for the person you’re caring for so that you can take a break, or practical or financial support directly to you to reduce any negative impacts of your caring role.
Some local authorities will carry out a financial assessment following your carer’s assessment, to see whether you’ll need to pay anything towards any help and support it has offered directly to you.
However, some local authorities offer help and support to carers free of charge. If a financial assessment is carried out, it will follow the same procedure as if it were a financial assessment of the person you’re caring for – see our information about the financial assessment calculations for home care.
Practical support – for the person you’re looking after
If you need a break from caring, you might be offered alternative care, such as:
- A sitting service, where someone can sit with the person you’re looking after to supervise them for a while.
- Respite care for the person you’re looking after, such as visits to a day care centre or a short period in a residential home, so that you can take a break or have a holiday.
Even though alternative care is provided to benefit you as a carer, it’s technically a service for the person you’re caring for. This means that the person you’re looking after will be financially assessed (if they haven’t already been as part of a needs assessment) to see whether they need to contribute towards the cost of the alternative care.
Practical support – for you
As a carer, you might be offered practical support such as:
- A carer’s training session, maybe in lifting and handling techniques.
- Gym membership and leisure classes to help relieve stress.
- Computer training and other 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.
Services can be provided by the local council itself or through a third party, or alternatively you can request direct payments, which allow you to buy the services.
If you spend a certain number of hours caring, you might be entitled to Carer’s Allowance or Carer’s Credit. Read our benefits for carers guide to find out more.
The carer’s assessment elsewhere in the UK
The carer’s assessment differs slightly across the UK. If you live in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, find out more by downloading the relevant factsheet below.
Find out how to apply and prepare for a carer’s assessment and discover what to expect throughout the process.
If you care for someone for more than 35 hours a week, find out if you could apply for Carer’s Allowance.
Our checklist will help you get ready for the Carer's Allowance application and ensure you fill in the form correctly.