If we’re over 18 years old and providing unpaid care for another adult, then we’re entitled to request a Carers’ Assessment from our local authority. Find out what support may be available, and how to request your own Carers’ Assessment.
Plus benefit from the lived experience of other unpaid carers’. Our community of carers have shared their own experiences of a Carers Assessment, plus their top tips for preparing for our own Carers Assessment and getting the most out of it.
Free Mini Carers' Assessment
If we want to get started straight away, then our take free mini carers assessment - it takes just 3 minutes.
We will follow up with an email which includes a simple, checklist of things to do next as well as details of how to get a full carers assessment in your area.
"I found out that having a carers assessment could result in me receiving a personal budget to support me with my caring"
Everything we need to know about Carers' Assessments
What is a Carers’ Assessment?
Carers Assessments are a conversation or series of conversations which focus on us and our caring role. It explores our individual caring situation, how caring impacts us and whether there is any support we need to help us continue to care going forward.
It’s a chance to step back and understand the difference that caring is making to all areas of our life and to think about what support we have and what might be needed in the future.
A Carers Assessment will include the following:
Our caring role and how it affects our own life and wellbeing
Our health – including physical, mental and emotional issues
Consider the things we want to achieve in our own day to day life
Our feelings and if we are able or willing to carry on caring
Whether we work or want to work
Whether we want to study or do more socially
Any housing issues
Our Carers’ Assessment can be completed by a whole range of services depending on where we live. This could include our local authority, our local carer organisation, our GP or carer support service. With so many different ways to complete a Carers Assessment, it is unsurprising that many of us have had one, and hadn’t realised.
"I actually think I have had one,
listening to this, I think I have."
member of our community
during our Virtual Cuppa
The Carers’ Assessment typically takes about one hour. There might be a few basic questions to answer first of all and then they might make notes or complete a form whilst they talk to us.
However, every carer’s experience of a Carers Assessment is entirely different - for some, it is completed through a form or document and for others, it can seem like an informal conversation.
How do I apply for a Carers' assessment?
The local council of the person being cared for is responsible for carrying out the Carers Assessments. They may also have arranged for the local carers centre to carry this out on their behalf.
Often it’s worth contacting our local Carers’ Centre first. In many cases they’ll be carrying out the Carers’ Assessments. And if they’re not, they’ll almost definitely be able to signpost us. Alternatively, we can find our local Social Services department here.
They are also great sources of other information, advice and support. Check out our “10 ways your local Carers’ Centre can help you”.
Alternatively, we can find our (or our cared-for’s) local council here. Many councils have a “First point of contact” phone number or email address we can use to get things started. Or search their webpage for “carers assessments''. They may have an online form to complete and get things started.
If the person we are caring for is already receiving support from our local council social care team or is having a care needs assessment, then our Carers Assessment can also be carried out at the same time. But only if that suits us. Many of us prefer to talk privately, and we’re entitled to request that.
Am I eligible for a Carers’ Assessment?
Can I apply for a Carers' Assessment? is a really common question.
For those of us who provide care to a child under 18, we can request a Parent Carer Assessment.
We don't have to live with the person we care for, and it doesn’t matter how many hours of care we provide.
And if we share the care with someone else, then we are both entitled to our own Carers’ Assessment.
Am I a carer?
The government describes a carer as:
“A carer is someone who helps another person, usually a relative or friend, in their day-to-day life”
They go on to say:
“Where it appears to a local authority that a carer may have needs for support (whether currently or in the future), the authority must assess — whether the carer does have needs for support (or is likely to do so in the future), and if the carer does, what those needs are (or are likely to be in the future).”
As an idea, the NHS says you're a carer if you're doing any of the following on a regular basis for someone that is ill, elderly or disabled:
Practical support, including:
washing, dressing or taking medicines
getting out and about
travelling to doctors' appointments
shopping, and cleaning
organising finances and paying bills
Emotional support, including:
sitting with someone to keep them company
watching over someone if they can't be left alone
fielding telephone calls to manage someone's anxiety
Is a Carers’ Assessment means tested?
Yes and no. Firstly all carers are entitled to an assessment regardless of our individual financial situation. So access to a Carers’ Assessment is not means tested.
If we are considered to have ‘eligible needs’ and support is agreed, then the local authority may or may not propose a charge, based on a financial assessment. This will look at our income and capital.
Be aware that a carer cannot be charged for support given to the person we care for. And that the person we care for, cannot be charged for support given to us as their carer.
Ultimately, any request for money towards the support, must not negatively impact on our ability as a carer, to look after our own wellbeing, and we should not be charged more than it is reasonably practical to pay. We can find out more about charging and financial assessment here, including income thresholds for payments.
“It may be that there are circumstances where a nominal charge may be appropriate, for example to provide for a service which is subsidised but for which the carer may still pay a small charge, such as a gym class. Ultimately, a local authority should ensure that any charges do not negatively impact on a carer’s ability to look after their own health and wellbeing and to care effectively and safely.”
What support can I expect from a Carers’ Assessment?
Support can vary wildly, depending on our own individual needs, and also the area we live in. Here are just some of the things carers have told us they have received, following their Carers’ Assessment:
Direct Payments to pay for carers
Training in how to lift safely and use a hoist
Massage and therapy vouchers
Mobility equipment and house adaptations for cared-for
“I asked for support to pay for carers and now receive something
called direct payments, which allow me to pay a carer for
12 hours each month. It’s not means tested and now I can pay
someone to look after my husband, so I can take a break. ”
“They may be able to offer you a Moving and Handling course, to help you move your wife without hurting yourself. Or sometimes they can provide equipment such as a hoist or toilet frame”
What is a parent carers’ needs assessment?
If we care for a child with a disability, and have parental responsibility, then we have the right to request a parent carers' needs assessment, under the Children and Families Act 2014.
Our parent carers' needs assessment must consider:
Our individual needs as a parent carer
Things that could make looking after our child easier for us
Our well-being as a parent carer
The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of our disabled child
The need to safeguard and promote the welfare of any other children that we care for
For more information, our Carers’ Rights and the Law blog can help.
How do I request a parent carers’ needs assessment?
A quick search of your local council’s website (or use Google!), should give the contact details of your ‘Children with disabilities’ team.
Carers’ Assessment under the Care Act
The 2014 Care Act is the key piece of legislation that covers care and support for adults. (For children with disabilities, it is the Children and Families Act 2014). It defines the role that local councils have, to make sure that people who live in their areas:
Receive services that prevent their care needs becoming more serious, or delay the impact of their needs
Can get information and advice they need, to make good decisions about care and support
Have a range of high quality, appropriate services to choose from
Carers’ Assessments in Scotland
In Scotland we can request an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP). This Adult Carer Support Plan provides a framework to identify our personal outcomes and needs for support. It intends to be preventative, so we can request one before we actually start caring on a regular or substantial basis. It starts with a conversation that looks at the following:
How caring impacts our life including physically, mentally and emotionally
If we are able or willing to carry on caring
Planning for emergencies
Planning for the future
Our own personal goals
After this conversation your Adult Carer Support Plan will be agreed with you. Covering the identified support needs and how they will be met
The relevant piece of legislation is the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016, which gives further information.
“Under the Act a ‘ carer’ is an individual who provides or intends
to provide care for another individual. A carer can be caring for
one or more cared-for persons. A cared-for person can have one or more carers.
They don’t need to live in the same house.”
An ‘ adult carer’ is a carer who is at least 18 years old and is not a ‘young carer’.
Carers tops tips for getting the most out of your Carers Assessment
1. Do it before you need it
Having a Carers’ Assessment already in place is incredibly helpful if and when a situation arises or things suddenly become more challenging.
Our carers told us that it is often easier to update an existing plan or document, telling people about the changes in circumstances. Rather than tell the whole situation from scratch to someone new. It also reassures the carer that they haven’t missed anything because it has been spoken about and written before that conversation. And we’re not trying to remember everything when we may well be in a crisis.
It is also worth noting that if there is an emergency or situation which requires support, it may not be the most convenient time for a Carers Assessment. This could be because we do not have the time, there are other priorities or that the emotions of the situation are too raw to talk about.
"I thought to myself, if I wait until I really need this,
I am not going to have time to go through the process."
2. Be prepared:
Carers shared that it really helped to have thought everything through before arriving at the appointment:
Have a full picture of everything you do and the impact it has on you (emotionally, physically and practically)
Know ‘what would help’
Have in mind what support you would like
Write it all down
“Prepare a list of things you do -
it's surprising how much you can overlook!”
“Before you go to your Carers’ Assessment, try to write down
what’s going on right now, and then what you would like
to happen in the near future. It's always best to have the info
to hand so you don't overlook anything.
It’s easy to forget stuff when you're there.”
3. Describe your worst day:
A Carers Assessment aims to provide an overview of the whole range of support that we might need within our caring role.
To help provide the full picture for this, our carers recommend thinking about the worst possible day and all of the challenges it could present. This allows the professional to understand how each of the challenges could be addressed with support.
Whilst it can be difficult to talk about the worst possible scenario, by dealing with it in this way, it ensures that there is support should the worst day ever happen.
Make sure you plan some down time or a chat with an upbeat friend, to help lift you afterwards.
“Think about your needs in full and the needs of the person you care for.
Consider the impact upon you of your caring role -
physically, emotionally and mentally. The importance of what you do
and how much bigger an impact - especially financially
(as that's what they prioritise) - it would have on social care services
if you were unable to continue in your role and
therefore they had to fully take over the responsibilities.”
“It’s a bit like filling in a PIP application or similar...
it’s helpful to describe things at their most challenging”
4. Revisit annually (or sooner if circumstances change)
Life happens and things change so do not be afraid to ask for a reassessment. It’s important to note the changes so that your plans and support remains up to date. If you would like to chat to one of our coaches should you have any questions, click here to book our free support calls!
“Your caring role should be always under review
because as carers, our needs are ever changing.”
5. Know that we can have our assessment on our own (we don’t have to have our cared for with us)
It’s entirely up to us. We can combine our assessment with the person we care for, or we can request to be seen on our own. There should be no pressure to do it one way or the other.
6. Make a note of everything that is agreed
It’s easy to forget things once we’ve left the appointment, plus often quite a lot of time can elapse between support being requested, agreed and received.
It can be helpful to write everything down during the appointment, to give us a base from which to follow-up and chase things up (if needed).
7. Share any existing plans and support we have in place
During our Carers’ assessment, it’s helpful to take a moment to talk about the routines and systems we have implemented already. Particularly those in place for if something should happen to us.
It is an opportunity for us to inform them of how things are to be done if we are unable to do it.
8. Be kind to ourselves afterwards
Talking about everything we find challenging and the help we need, can be really tough. We may feel hopeful at the support we can get in place, but it’s also common to feel rather low afterwards, as the enormity of everything sinks in.
It's important to acknowledge our feelings, and when we're ready we can help ourselves to feel a bit better.
It can help to book a little treat for afterwards. Something that will give us some uplift. Perhaps a cuppa or phone call with a friend, a walk in nature or even just a nap.
Gratitude practice can help
To help provide some balance to all the challenges and negative ‘stuff’ we may have just talked about, some carers recommend using gratitude practice.
Simply start with saying three things we’re grateful for today:
It might be the sunshine, the opportunity to access support, and a call with a friend.
Once we have three things, let’s find three more:
Perhaps it’s a relaxing bath, the roof over our heads or something nice for dinner.
Focussing on ‘the good stuff’ can help us get some balance.
Carers’ Assessments - real life carers’ experiences
On the whole, carers’ experiences of a Carers’ Assessment were positive. However, as with most facets of life, sometimes things can go wrong. We’ve included ‘all’ the stories, so we can feel best prepared.
“I had one through adult social services about 5 yrs ago.
They were brilliant. They asked me what care I gave my son,
and then were able to provide me with the equipment that I
needed to look after him more easily. They also requested
an assessment for my son and he ended up with more equipment.
Plus our house was then adapted to support him
to feel more part of our family and not just stuck in his room.”
“We had one a few months ago, the person doing it was great, very helpful and knowledgeable”
“I never ever heard back from mine. It felt like a tick box exercise.”
Carers Assessment Myths
It may be helpful to know these common myths (told to us by carers!) that simply are not true.
“Carers assessment is always completed at the same time
as the review of the person in need”
“I was told I could only have a Carers Assessment
if my Mum had been assessed first!
“You can only get a carers assessment
if you receive carers allowance”
“Carers Assessment and
Carers allowance are the same thing”
What's your experience?
Our guide is built around lived carer experience. If you have something to share that would benefit other carers or if you have a question we haven't answered (yet!), simply email us at email@example.com.