Am I a Carer? How do I get support?
Who is a Carer?
A carer is an unpaid person (not a paid social care or support worker) who looks after someone who needs help because of frailty, illness or disability. Those who care for a loved one often don’t identify with the term “carer”. This can be for a number of reasons including that caring responsibilities often build over time, particularly in the case of progressive illnesses and disabilities. Sometimes people don’t see looking after a family member as anything other than their familial responsibility to that person. Although this is a normal attitude towards caring for a loved one, it can prevent the carer from accessing much needed help themselves.
Ask yourself the following questions, if you answer yes to any one of them then you are a carer with legal rights and entitlement to financial and practical support.
Do you provide ongoing and regular unpaid care or support?
Does this include personal care e.g. supporting washing, dressing, grooming or toileting?
Do you support daily living e.g. cooking, cleaning, shopping, transport and/or helping with correspondence, arranging appointments, bills or other paperwork?
Do you provide support with health care e.g. prompting or giving medications?
Would the person you help have difficulty managing without your regular help?
Do you receive Carers Allowance or no payment at all?
Your Rights as a Carer
As a carer you have legal rights and protections to support you to maintain your caring role. These include the right to:
- Request flexible working from your employer. See the government website at https://www.gov.uk/flexible-working/overview
- Have a carer’s assessment by your local authority (see below)
- Receive financial support through Carer’s Allowance (see below)
- Have your views considered by social services when they are assessing how best to meet the needs of the person you care for.
All carer’s caring for someone over 18 are entitled to a free Carer’s Assessment by the Adult Social Services department of the person you look after. You are entitled to an assessment regardless of the type or amount of care you provide or your financial means.
The outcome of a carer’s asessment might include things like:
- Advice about benefits for carers
- Funding for respite care e.g. paying for a home care worker, day centre or similar
- Help with transport if you don’t drive
- Support with day to day responsibilities that it is difficult to balance with your caring role e.g. help with housework or garden maintenance.
- Providing training relevant to your caring role e.g. how to move people safely or manage medications or medical equipment
- Signposting you to local support groups
Call your local social services department to request one (e.g. locally Nottinghamshire County Council 0300 500 8080 and select the “Adult Services” option). Before your assessment think about how your caring role impacts, for example, your ability to work or continue your education, your ability to look after yourself e.g. is your sleep, ability to eat well or manage your own health being impacted by your caring responsibilities? Are you able to get out and socialise, pursue hobbies or just get out by yourself in the same way as you did before you began caring?
The person you care for is entitled to a separate Community Care Assessment completed by the adult social services department.
Carer’s Allowance is the main financial welfare benefit for carers. For full up-to-date information about eligibility and current rates visit the government site at Carer’s Allowance: How it works – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
If you have any other questions or need advice about being a carer do give us a call we’re always happy to just chat. We can also offer a range of respite options including care in your own home, getting out and about with your loved one or our fully supported Day Social every Tuesday in West Bridgford.