What is the Care Act?
The Care Act 2014 came into law in April 2015. It describes how local authorities should assess the needs of carers, decide who can get support and determine how social care services are charged for. It’s mainly concerned with carers of adults, as the Children and Families Act 2014 provides for carers of children with additional needs and also young carers.
What rights do carers have?
Under the Care Act, carers are entitled to an assessment of their own needs in the same way that the person they care for is entitled to an assessment. They are also entitled to support if eligibility criteria are met. The assessment may be carried out by a local authority, and a local authority may arrange for another organisation to carry it out.
What does a carers assessment involve?
A carers assessment is not an assessment of a person’s ability to care. It looks at the impact of caring on the person’s own health and wellbeing. The impact on relationships, social life and work will all be considered.
What services are available for carers?
Carers may be able to access a range of services, for example help with household tasks, benefits advice, respite or other activities for the cared for person and help with caring tasks. It is important to check with the local authority as these will vary. It will also be helpful to access support and information from local carers groups. For more information and to find a local group, see https://carers.org/
Do carers have to pay for services they receive?
Local authorities are able to charge for services provided to carers however not all do. If they do, then they have to follow the same guidance they use for charging service users. If a service is provided to the cared for person to benefit the carer, for example respite care, then the carer wouldn’t be charged but the cared for person may be. Check your local authority website for their approach to this.