What is a carer’s assessment?

A carer’s assessment works out whether you qualify for support from the council in your role as unpaid carer. It's a chance for you to talk about how your caring responsibilities affect you. It will look at:

  • whether you’re willing and able to carry on providing care
  • whether your caring responsibilities have any impact on your wellbeing
  • whether you need any support
  • what you’d like to achieve in your day-to-day life. For example, you might want more time to take part in activities you enjoy
  • whether you qualify for any help from the council.

Anyone who is a carer can get a carer’s assessment for free. Your assessment could be face-to-face, over the phone or online. For more information, read our factsheet Getting help from the council as a carer.

Why should you get a carer’s assessment?

Getting a carer’s assessment is the first step to getting help as a carer. It's a good opportunity to discuss your needs as a carer and to see what practical and financial support you can get from your local council.

It can help to make life easier for both you and the person you’re caring for.

How to get a carer’s assessment

Carer’s assessments are carried out by your local council. If the person you care for lives in a different council area, their council will be responsible for your carer’s assessment. 

You’ll need to contact the council to arrange an assessment. Search for their contact details on Gov.uk, or find them in the phone book.

How to prepare for the assessment

The council should send you information about the assessment in advance. You’ll need to prepare so you can talk about your caring role and how it affects you. Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Are you able to get enough sleep or is it disturbed by your caring role?
  • Is your health being affected? If so, how?
  • How many hours a week do you care for the person? Do you care for them at night?
  • Do you have any time for yourself?
  • Are you able to go out without worrying about the person you care for?
  • Are any of your other relationships being affected?
  • Is your job being affected, if you work?
  • Do you need information about what support or benefits are available?
  • Is there any equipment that would help the person you care for and allow you to care for them more safely?
  • Do you need any training – for example, in first aid or in moving and handling the person you care for?
  • Do you want to continue caring as much as you are? For example, you may wish to go back to work or attend a course.

It’s worth keeping a diary of everything you do for one or two weeks before the assessment, so you don’t forget to mention anything. You can also ask the assessor to take a copy of it.

In some circumstances, you may be entitled to an independent advocate during the carer’s assessment.

After the assessment

If you qualify for support, the council will contact you to discuss how they’re going to meet your needs. Examples of the kind of support you could be offered include:

  • training to give you confidence in your caring role
  • emotional support, such as counselling or help to relieve stress
  • practical help with housework or gardening
  • support to take part in leisure activities, such as gym membership
  • breaks from caring.

The council must develop a written support plan with you that sets out how your needs will be met. They must also involve the person you care for if you wish, and anyone else you’d like to be involved.

Councils are advised not to charge carers for support provided directly to them, but some will charge. If they do charge, you’ll be given a financial assessment to work out if you'll pay towards any support you’re offered. You must only be charged for support provided directly to you. You cannot be charged for care and support given to the person you care for.

If you don’t qualify for support

If you don’t qualify for support, this doesn’t mean you’re not a carer. The council must give you information and advice to help you in your caring role – for example, information about local carer support groups.

If you think the decision is wrong, you may want to make a complaint. See our page Complaints about care and health services for more information.

Next steps

To find out more about the carer’s assessment, read our factsheet Getting help from the council as a carer.

For information on other support available to carers, read our guide Caring for someone.

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