Your guide to care and support

Carer's assessments

Media last reviewed: 30/09/2015

Media review due: 30/09/2018

If you provide care and support to an adult friend or family member or a disabled child, you may be eligible for support from your local council.

Before you receive any help from your local council, you need to have a carer's assessment. As a carer you have a right to an assessment of your needs.

How to get a carer's assessment

To arrange an assessment, get in touch with the local council's social services department. They will be able to tell you how the assessment works.

Depending on the local council, the assessment could be done face-to-face, over the telephone or online.

What happens in a carer's assessment?

During the assessment, you'll have a discussion with a trained person either from the council or another organisation that the council works with.

You'll be asked about the different ways that caring affects your life, including your feelings about caring, your physical, mental and emotional health and how caring affects your work, leisure, education, wider family and your relationships.

You'll be asked whether you are able or willing to carry on caring, whether you work or want to work, and whether you want to study or do more socially.

During your assessment:

  • explain any mental or physical health problems you are having
  • say whether you take on physical tasks, such as lifting and carrying, and whether this is causing you any long-term health problems
  • say whether you ever feel unsafe, for instance because of the behaviour of the person you look after
  • talk about your wishes concerning paid work, training or leisure activities (the council must consider the support you need if you want to stay in your paid job or return to paid work or if you want to continue or start studying or training)

The types of carer support available

After the carer's assessment, the council will write to you about their decision and give you the reasons for it.

If the council decides that you're eligible for support, it will contact you to discuss what help might be available.

This might include:

  • money to pay for things that make caring easier
  • respite care when you need a short break
  • putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
  • support so you can attend any medical appointments
  • support if you need to go into hospital for an operation (including recovery afterwards)
  • training – such as learning how to lift safely
  • help with housework or gardening
  • buying a laptop so you can keep in touch with family and friends
  • becoming a member of a gym so you can look after your own health

If you do not have needs that are eligible, your council will give you information and advice, including what local care and support is available. This could include, for example, help from local voluntary organisations.

Personal budgets for carers

Carers should receive a personal budget. This is a statement showing the cost of meeting their needs, as part of their support plan. It will include the amount the carer will pay, if any, and the amount the local council is going to pay.

As a carer, you have the right to ask the local council to send you the amount they are contributing as a direct payment. Direct payments go straight into your bank account.

Read more about direct payments.

How to prepare for a carer's assessment

Before your carer's assessment, give yourself plenty of time to think about your role as a carer. Note your thoughts down.

You might consider:

  • whether you want to continue being a carer
  • if you want to continue, what changes would make your life easier 
  • if there is any risk that you will not be able to continue as a carer without support 
  • whether you have any physical or mental health problems, including stress or depression, which make your role as a carer more difficult 
  • whether being a carer affects your relationships with other people, including family and friends 
  • if you are in paid work, whether being a carer causes problems at your work (such as often being late) 
  • if you like more time to yourself so that you can have a rest or enjoy some leisure activity 
  • if you like to do some training, voluntary work or paid work

Remember, it's your choice whether to carry on as a carer. Many of us feel that we have a duty to those we care for and we sometimes rule out other options because we feel we have no choice.

You have the right to choose:

  • whether to be a carer at all
  • how much care you're willing to provide
  • the type of care you're willing to provide

More information

Find out what happens after a carer's assessment and how care and support is paid for.

You can also read the Practical guide to healthy caring (PDF, 4.33Mb) for tips on how to stay healthy whilst caring for others. The guide is for older carers as well as people new to caring.

For advice and support with caring issues over the phone, you can call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.

Page last reviewed: 05/04/2018
Next review due: 05/04/2021