What is a carer’s assessment?
If you care for another person, you can ask your local council to carry out an assessment of your needs to find out if you’re eligible for support.
We did a carer’s assessment and there, written down, were the aspects of my life affected by being a carer: money, time, health, emotion.
Who is eligible for a carer’s assessment?
If you’re 18 years of age or over and you provide care for someone who is also over 18, you’re entitled to 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 an assessment. The assessment will review your needs and decide if you’re eligible for any help.
If appropriate, you can ask the council to combine your carer’s assessment with a needs assessment for the person you’re looking after, if they haven’t already been assessed. This is optional though – you are equally entitled to request a separate assessment.
Note: on this page we cover the rules for a carer’s assessment in England. Scroll to the end of this page for more information about the process in Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.
What does a carer’s assessment involve?
There are three key 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.
The carer’s assessment will take into account these specific factors:
- the level of care that you’re willing and able to provide
- whether you’re providing ‘regular and substantial amounts’ of care
- the impact on your life, such as on your work, education and leisure time
- whether you have needs that meet the criteria set by the government.
For more detailed information about what to expect from the assessment process, go to How to get a carer’s assessment.
How do I prepare for a carer’s assessment?
Anyone who needs support with their caring duties should be offered a carer’s assessment.
For tips on what to expect and how to prepare for the meeting, read our article on getting a carer’s assessment.
What support can I get after a carer’s assessment?
If your local authority decides that you have ‘eligible needs’, they may offer help and support in a variety of ways. For example, they may offer practical or financial support directly to you to reduce any negative impacts of your caring role. Or they might provide alternative care for the person you’re caring for so that you can take a break.
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 state benefits, such as:
Is council support for carers free?
If you are assessed as having eligible needs, your local authority has a legal duty to meet those needs. Some local authorities offer help and support to carers free of charge following a carer’s assessment, but some will carry out a financial assessment to see whether you’ll need to pay anything towards any help that is offered to you.
If a financial assessment is carried out, it will be similar to the type of means test used by the council to work out if someone is eligible for care funding – see our information about the financial assessment for home care for guidance.
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.