If you care for someone who needs your support and help to carry out everyday tasks, your local authority can assess your needs so that you get the rest and respite you need to maintain your own health and wellbeing.

Social Services Carer’s Assessment

Friends and family members that care for loved ones provide an invaluable service, working for long hours for love, not money.

But everyone needs a break to rest and recharge the batteries.

Local authorities have a legal responsibility to assess any caregiver who needs support or asks for help, regardless of their financial means.

They should perform a carer’s assessment to see whether you are entitled to support or respite care, so that you can stay healthy, strong and well enough to carry on caring to the best of your ability.

What is a Social Services Carer’s Assessment?

A Carer’s Assessment is an official way of measuring the effect the care you provide is having on your own health, your ability to work and your wellbeing. It could be a chat on the phone, a meeting in person or online questions with a qualified assessor.

The assessor will work together with you to identify your support needs and also consider your personal wishes. This will include whether you want time away from your caring responsibilities to study or socialise, or simply rest.

The assessment should look at your need for help, whether you are able to continue caring without support and how your needs could best be met.

Who is eligible?

In deciding whether an individual is eligible for support, the local authority will look to answer three questions:

  1. Are your needs the result of you providing necessary care to an adult? This includes supporting your loved one in performing tasks that they would usually be expected to do themselves, such as feeding, self-care or using the bathroom.
  2. Is your caring role causing your health to deteriorate?
  3. Are you experiencing, or are you likely to suffer a negative impact on your wellbeing? Wellbeing is a pretty broad term; it covers relationships, dignity, accommodation, control over your life, ability to take part in education, work or social activity and protection against neglect and abuse.
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What happens next?

If you can answer yes to these questions, then you should be entitled to assistance. Your local authority team will work together with you to develop a support plan that addresses your needs.

This support could include being offered a direct personal budget, which is money, allocated to you, that can be spent on accessing the care support you need.

Alternatively, the local authority could offer direct, practical support. Instead of hiring carers yourself, you could choose to use council employed caregivers, such as in-home carers for replacement care, access day centres or short breaks at residential facilities.

Will you have to pay?

The local authority can sometimes charge you for services that you receive and may do a financial assessment or ‘means test’ to calculate this.

However they can’t issue a charge to you for services you loved one gets, they will be independently assessed for this.

If you find you’re not eligible for funding, it’s understandable to feel disappointed and a little panicky.

But try to stay calm and positive, you may be able to appeal the assessment findings and there are plenty of other ways to get the help and the rest you need.

Your local authority should be able to put you in touch with local organisations and charities that may lend a hand.

Or think about getting together as a family to see if you can share the caring responsibilities between you, or pay for a private carer to come into the home and take some of strain, so that everyone gets enough time to recharge their batteries.


Direct payments

If you’re assessed as having needs, you will be allocated a personal budget to help purchase care.

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This can be taken as a direct payment, which could be used to hire an in-home care worker through an agency, pay for a supported holiday or cover the costs of your loved one spending a short time in a residential home, while you rest and recuperate.

Local authority care

The local authority can arrange services for you, so that you can take the break you need. You could choose council carers who will come into your house to look after your loved one or use regular day care facilities.

You can find out more about the cost of care, and the various ways you can make it fit your budget by downloading our comprehensive and impartial pricing guide. It’s our aim to give you the information you need to find the care that is right for you, be it through us or through another care service.

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Dr Jane Gilbert

Jane has over 20 years’ experience as a health writer and TV presenter. Jane writes on a wide variety of clinical and care topics – from explaining the latest studies and research to unpacking conditions and discussing treatment options. Jane holds a MBBS degree from Imperial College, London and spent seven years working in the NHS.

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