How do I apply for a carer’s assessment?
If you need support with your caring duties, you should be offered a carer’s assessment.
If you haven’t been offered a carer’s assessment, you can request one by:
- contacting the local authority where the person you care for lives
- 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.
How do I prepare for the assessment?
Preparation is key and can boost your chances of success. Once you have your assessment booked, collect all the relevant information, and think about the key issues. You’ll need:
your NHS number
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.
What should I expect from the 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.
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’s convenient for you.
Can I take someone with me?
You can include the person you’re caring for at the meeting. 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’re 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’re 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’re willing and able to provide.
If you don’t spell it out, 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.
If you don’t spell it out, you could be left with an undue level of responsibility.
Think about your role as a carer
It might help to talk things through with family and friends, or to keep a diary for a week about the care you’re providing, how it affects you and makes you feel.
Without support, will you struggle to provide the care that the person you’re caring for needs? It may not be realistic for you to provide all the support that your loved one needs, so don’t feel guilty if you can’t do it all.
In many cases, it’s better for trained professionals to carry out certain tasks - they have the time and energy to dedicate to the job. You might not have this if you’re an older person or you’re also juggling work and/or a family.
Before the assessment, think about the following, make notes and take them into the assessment with you:
- Will you be able to talk freely if the person you care for is present?
Do you want, or are you able, to carry on caring for your family member or friend?
If you’re prepared to continue, is there anything that could make your life easier?
Without support, is there a risk that you might not be able to continue caring for your family member or friend?
Do you have any physical or mental health problems, including stress or depression, that make your role as a carer more difficult?
Does being a carer affect your relationships with other people, including the person you’re caring for as well as other family and friends?
If you have a job, does being a carer cause problems?
Would you like more time to yourself so that you can sleep, take a break or enjoy some leisure activity? If so, what would you like to do?
Would you like to do some training, voluntary work or paid work? If so, what would you like to do?
Downloadable checklist for preparing for the carer's assessment
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’re happy with the support plan and that it identifies your needs correctly. If you’re unhappy, speak to the person who carried out the assessment.
What if I’m unhappy with my support plan?
You have a right to appeal the support plan if you’re 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 guidance on challenging a local authority decision.
If you care for someone, you can arrange a carer’s assessment to find out if you’re eligible for support.
If you care for someone for more than 35 hours a week, find out if you could apply for Carer’s Allowance.
Carer’s Credit can help fill gaps in your National Insurance record if you can’t work due to being a carer.