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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.
As a carer, you have certain rights that are explained below. For more detailed information about them, download the guide Advice for carers.
You're entitled to a carer’s assessment if you regularly provide a substantial amount of care for someone. Contact your local social services department to request one. You are entitled to a carer’s assessment regardless of whether the person you care for is having their needs assessed.
Following the assessment, you should be notified in writing of any needs that have been identified and any help or support you could get. If you would rather keep this information confidential and do not want it to be written in the disabled person’s care plan, you can ask for your own carer’s plan.
You may be able to receive financial support through Carer’s Allowance, respite care to give you a break from your caring responsibilities, and assistance from social services – for example, practical help, taxi fares, and help with managing stress. You also have the right to have your views taken into consideration by social services when they are deciding how best to provide for the person you care for.
Visit the Carers UK website for more information on getting a carer’s assessment.
You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you spend at least 35 hours a week caring for a disabled person and are not in full-time education or earning more than £100 a week.
Carer’s Allowance may not be paid if you are receiving a State Pension or certain other benefits. However, it may be a good idea to apply anyway as claiming it may entitle you to get extra money paid with means-tested benefits such as Housing Benefit and Pension Credit.
If you're claiming Universal Credit, you may be able to get an extra amount because of your caring role, without needing to claim for Carer's Allowance. Some carers won't be eligible for additional amounts of Universal Credit (for example, if they get an additional amount for limited capability for work, they will not be eligible for an additional amount as a carer).
Carers UK produce a free guide called Looking after someone: a guide to carers' rights and benefits.
If you have given up work to care for someone, you might be concerned that you will lose out on your entitlement to a State Pension as you will no longer be paying National Insurance (NI).
The amount of State Pension you get usually depends on how many qualifying years of National Insurance you have built up.
However, there is a weekly NI credit for carers known as Carer’s Credit. You will automatically get Carer’s Credits if you receive Carer’s Allowance. If not, apply for them by calling the Carer’s Allowance Unit on 0845 608 4321.
For more information about your pension if you are a carer, see the Carers UK free guide Caring for your pension.
If you're working as well as caring for someone, you have the right to request flexible working arrangements to help you to fulfil your responsibilities.
Flexible working can mean working part-time, flexi-time (when you choose your working hours), compressed hours (working your contracted hours over fewer days), job-sharing or homeworking.
You have the right to make one request for flexible working each year. Your employer must consider it but does not have to agree to it.
When you’re taking care of someone, you need to find time to take care of yourself. A break will help you to recharge your batteries and pursue your own interests.
If you need a break from caring, your local council should help you to arrange respite care.
This might include employing someone to help at home, or arranging care for the person at a day centre or a temporary place in a residential care home. Ask your social services department what they can offer.
See having a break for more information
Download the guide Advice for carers (PDF 2.82MB)
Download the factsheet Carer's allowance (PDF 152 KB)
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