A Carers Assessment is an assessment of your needs when caring for someone else. It assesses what your needs are, no matter what your social or financial position is.
This applies whether you are caring for your parents (Non-parent Carers) or whether you are caring for your own child (Parent carers). This can also apply if you are a young carer, under the age of 18.
It is separate from a needs assessment, which assesses the needs of the person being cared for.
Why get one?
It helps you to continue caring for your parents or disabled children, with the assistance of the local council. Even if you are above the £23,500 savings threshold, you can still get some free assistance, so you are leaving money on the table if you don’t ask for one.
It recognises the importance of the role you play and seeks to ensure that you can continue doing things that make you happy, including social activities and staying in work.
Finally, it will help you to structure your thoughts and get connected with a network of local support, support groups and local activities that you need to know about.
To put it bluntly, you are doing something that, otherwise, the state would have to do, so they need to keep you happy and sane enough to do it.
Who can have a carer’s assessment?
Anyone who cares for a loved one and feels that they need support can and should ask for one from their local council. This means that, regardless of your financial or social situation, you are entitled to an assessment and potentially a great deal of assistance from local bodies.
You can also update your assessment as needs change, even if the assessor has already decided not to support you in any way. It is especially important to do as savings run out, and you approach the £23,500 threshold.
If you share caring for your loved one with a partner, relative or friend, then you can each have an assessment, regardless of who you consider takes the primary responsibility. If you are sharing responsibilities with a child (under 18) then makes sure you tell them prior to the assessment as this does change the assessment that is done.
How do I get a carer’s assessment?
Ask your local council adult social services department for one. You can ask for a needs assessment to be done at the same time so that both of your needs are understood and managed.
You can get one by phoning, emailing or even chatting to your local council. Click here to see who to call.
How will my carer’s assessment be carried out? (Excluding U18s)
The council will assign assessor, who may be directly from them or from a third party organisation the runs these on their behalf. Regardless of who does it, the local council still has the ultimate responsibility for any decisions made.
They may organise a time to meet you in person or just do it over the phone, or even via an online carers assessment form, which they then follow up with a phone call. Whatever the case, it is a good idea to prepare for the conversation.
How to prepare for your carers assessment
To prepare, think about how you would like life to be like (within reason), and what is stopping you from achieving that goal. For example, you might like to be able to go out 3 evenings a week and have a couple of days away each week. You might also like the freedom to go on holiday for a couple of time a year. Note this all down and then think about what support might be needed to enable this.
There is no guarantee that the support provided will enable this, whatever the case, it is useful to have a goal.
If you are meeting with the assessor, you may like to have someone with you, such as another family member or friend. You can also access a Carers Support Worker from a carers organisation. Google “Carers support worker” to find a local organisation.
The assessment should cover the following:
- What you currently do
- How that impacts your lifestyle
- How it impacts your physical and mental wellbeing
- Any existing conditions, physical or mental
- What you want (remember that planning)
- What work, studying, training and leisure activities you want to be doing
- Your other relationships, social activities and your goals
- What provisions you should have in place for emergencies (such as a Carer Emergency Scheme)
- Other local support organisations and groups
Going back to your planning, remember to ask about anything else that hasn’t been brough up, this is no time to be shy.
How will my young carer’s assessment be carried out?
Young carers (U18s) with caring responsibilities are also eligible for a carers assessment.
The local council has a duty of care, to consider the impact of caring for someone, has on a child.
The assessment itself will look at whether or not the young carer wishes to continue caring, and whether it is appropriate for them to continue caring. Specifically, they consider any education, training, work or leisure activities the young carer is part of, or wishes to participate in.
Where a young carer’s eligible needs are identified as requiring support, local councils will have to:
- provide support directly to the young carer or
- demonstrate that the ‘cared for person’s’ assessment (needs assessment) has provided adequate care and support to prevent inappropriate care being required from the young carer
What does the assessment consider?
The assessment considers 3 broad areas:
- Are your needs not being met due to you providing care?
- Does providing care have a negative effect on you?
- Does, or will, caring impact your wellbeing?
The assessor will consider whether or not you satisfy the above three conditions. Below, we have a summary of what each means
1. Are your needs not being met due to you providing care?
The local council will look to see whether all the care you provide is strictly necessary, and whether or not your needs are as a result of providing the appropriate amount of care.
If they think you are providing an unnecessary level of care, or if they believe your needs are as a result of other things in your life, not related to providing the care, they may not provide support.
2. Does provide care have an effect on you?
They look at whether you can do the following activities unaided, without causing distress to either yourself or the people you care for:
- Whether the care you provide will cause your mental of physical health to deteriorate
- If it stops you from caring for others (parents, children or others)
- Results in your home environment getting worse
- Stops you from eating
- Has a negative impact on your relationships
- If it stops for from socialising and pursuing hobbies
- Impacts your education or any other training or volunteering
3. Does, or will, caring to impact your wellbeing??
This asks whether there has or will be a “significant” impact on your wellbeing. Wellbeing is a less specific term, that includes things like your dignity, opportunities for betterment, control over your day to day life and relationships. It also looks at the potential or existence of abuse and neglect, which is often something you don’t recognise yourself.
What interventions may be put in place for you?
If you are not eligible, then you must be given a written decision explaining this. However, they will still help you think it all through and will advise you on how to manage your needs, and access other sources of support.
Assuming that you are eligible, the council will create a support plan for you, to meet your needs, directly and/or via the person you are caring for. This may take the form of direct payments, which you can learn more about by clicking here. The sorts of things they may provide to support you include:
- Assistance and support with transport (public transport or your own vehicle).
- Support with communications, such a phone or computer access
- Personal support, with things like cleaning and gardening
- Mental and physical health support with counselling or even gym membership
They could also provide you with additional help, caring for your loved one, above an beyond what they would normally receive:
- Modifications to the home to enable caregiving
- A carer to deliver care directly, in your place
- Free respite places and daycare centre places
- Meals on wheels
- Other household services
What are the likely costs?
This depends on the outcome of the financial assessment, which will be done, to follow up on the carers assessment.
If you are not eligible for funding, they cannot force you to buy these services they recommend, you retain the right not to take them.
What is the financial assessment?
The financial assessment is a means test that looks at your income and assets, such as savings and investments. The assessor will then come to a view on whether or not you can or should pay for so, part or all of the services yourself. Remember, you still retain the right to refuse to pay for services you haven’t asked to receive.
Assets: You will have to pay if your assets are valued at £23,250 or more (in 2019/20). This excludes the value of your property if you own it.
Income: Any income above the £189 per week (Minimum Income Guarantee), minus £1 for every £250 above the £23,250 threshold, goes towards paying for the care received
The easiest and most accurate way to figure out what you will have to pay is to get the assessment done.