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What is a carer’s assessment?

A carer’s assessment is the council’s way of working out whether you qualify for support from them in your role as unpaid carer. The assessment is a chance for you to discuss 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.

How to get a carer’s assessment

Carer’s assessments are carried out by the adult social services department of 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. If you provide necessary care for someone and think you could benefit from some support, contact the council to arrange an assessment. Their details should be in the phone book, or search online at

How to prepare for the assessment

The council should send you information about the assessment in advance. You’ll need to be prepared to 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 work being affected?
  • Do you need information about what support or benefits are available?
  • Do you need any training  for example, in first aid or in moving and handling the person you care for?

After the assessment

If you are eligible for support, the council will contact you to discuss how they’re going to meet your needs. This could include support for the person you care for or support for you, for example:

  • training to give you confidence in your caring role
  • emotional support, such as counselling and 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, setting 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 will need to pay for some or all of any support you’re offered.

You must only be charged for support directly provided to you. You cannot be charged for care and support provided 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 provide personalised information and advice to help you in your caring role and to stop you developing support needs in future – for example, information about local carer support groups.

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

Next steps

To find out more about the carer’s assessment and how the council works out if you qualify for support, 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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