Carers have certain rights, and it's important that you know what these are. Don’t overlook your own needs as a carer: making time for yourself is crucial to your own health and wellbeing.
You're entitled to a carer’s assessment if you regularly provide a substantial amount of care for someone, regardless of whether the person you care for is having their needs assessed. Contact your local social services department to request one.
Before your carer’s assessment think carefully about how your caring role affects you and what would help you manage better.
During the assessment, you’ll have a chance to talk about the care you provide and the impact it has on your life. The assessor will look at the support you get and whether other services could help you. They’ll also advise you on any benefits you’re entitled to and other sources of help.
Following the assessment, you’ll get a letter describing the support you could get and who will provide it.
Carers Direct have detailed advice on preparing for a carer’s assessment.
The main benefit you may be entitled to as a carer is Carer’s Allowance. To qualify you must spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person.
Protect your State Pension
If you care for someone for at least 20 hours per week, you could get Carer’s Credit. This helps build to build your entitlement to basic and additional State Pension.
Carer’s Credit is a weekly National Insurance credit for carers that you will automatically get if you receive Carer’s Allowance. If not, apply by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321.
Your rights at work
If you're working as well as caring for someone, you have the right to request flexible working arrangements to help you fulfil your responsibilities.
You can make one request for flexible working each year. Your employer must consider it but does not have to agree to it.
If social services carries out a care assessment for the person you care for your views will also be taken into consideration when deciding how best to support them.
You may also be able to receive assistance from social services - for example practical help at home, help with taxi fares, counselling to deal with stress and information about local support groups.
Visit the Carers Trust or check your local authority’s website to find out what services are available in your area.
If you have any concerns about the support that either you or the person you care for is receiving, you have a right to complain to the local authority that is providing the service, or the Care Quality Commission.
Find out more about the steps that you should take to resolve any concerns you have.