Home Help for families Information & Advice Social care How to access services Carer’s assessments: your needs as a carer
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You might be eligible for services to help you as a carer. To work out what your needs are, the local authority will carry out a carer’s assessment.
All parent carers in all the UK nations have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time. This can be, for example, if your needs have changed – you may wish to take up education, training or employment.
You can ask for a carer’s assessment by contacting your local authority.
Note that where we refer to the local authority social services department, this also includes the Health and Social Care Services in Scotland and the Health and Social Services Trust in Northern Ireland.
You don’t need to have a diagnosis for your child to get an assessment or help from social services – if your child needs help or support, social services should still make an assessment of their needs and yours.
Our helpline team have written a template letter to make a carer’s assessment request (England only) [DOC].
Young carers – for example siblings of disabled children – can ask for an assessment of their needs if they are providing a substantial amount of care. In Scotland, young adult carers will have this right from age 18 – 25. Ask your local authority to find out more.
Young carers of school age can approach their teachers or school nurse for support.
In England, the law says that assessment for a young carer is triggered where there is an ‘appearance of need’. That means it is not necessary for the young person to request this, so any assessment of you or your disabled child should take into account any brothers or sisters and whether they are providing care.
A carer’s assessment focuses on you as a parent and your needs, your wellbeing, health and safety issues and important commitments such as relationships, education and employment.
The local authority should consider work, education and leisure opportunities when you are being assessed. Examples of services that you might receive after a carer’s assessment include driving lessons, help with housework and gardening, emotional support and short breaks.
If the local authority agrees that services should be provided, they should draw up a plan that sets out:
The plan should be reviewed regularly to make sure any services remain appropriate.
The local authority may decide there is no need for services, which could result in your case being closed with no further action taken. If you disagree with this decision, you can challenge it using the local authority’s complaints procedure.
If your child is turning 18, you might need support to prepare for the transition to adult services. Under the Care Act 2014 in England, you can ask for a child’s carer’s assessment ‘in transition’.
Young carers who are approaching the age of 18 are eligible for help in their own right under the Care Act. This is regardless of the age of their sibling.
When a young carer approaches their 18th birthday, they can ask for an assessment of their needs to find out what support can be put in place to help them achieve their aspirations, for example to go to college or work.
We cover this in more detail on our page on moving into adult services.
Carer's Allowance is the main benefit for carers who provide at least 35 hours of care per week.