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A whistle-stop tour of carers' rights

The Care Act 2014 created a shift in relation to carers’ rights and for the first time placed carers’ rights on a similar footing to those of disabled adults themselves.

Under section 10 of the Act, where it appears to a local authority that a carer may have needs for support, whether currently or in the future, the local authority must carry out an assessment of those needs. The assessment should be carried out regardless of the level of the carer’s needs for support, and regardless of the carer’s (or the disabled adult’s) financial resources.

Once an assessment of a carer’s needs has been carried out, the local authority need to apply eligibility criteria to see which of those needs are eligible for support.

After the local authority has carried out an assessment and determined the eligible needs, it will carry out a financial assessment and then provide the necessary support to meet the carer’s needs.

All the general duties in the Care Act apply to carers as well. The well-being of the carer must be considered, the local authority must consider whether there are steps it can take to prevent, reduce, or delay any needs the carer has (even if they are not eligible for support), and a ‘whole family’ and holistic approach must be taken.

Young Carers

Under sections 63-64 of the Care Act 2014 where it appears to a local authority that a young carer is likely to have needs for support after becoming 18, the authority must carry out a ‘young carer’s assessment’.

The local authority will need to consider whether the young carer is willing to provide care beyond the age of 18, the extent to which the young carer works, wishes to work, or wishes to participate in education, training or recreation, and the impact on the carer of providing care.

Having carried out a young carer’s assessment, a local authority must give the young carer an indication as to whether their needs are likely to meet the eligibility criteria after they reach the age of 18, and advice or information about what can be done to meet or reduce the needs for support at this stage, or about preventing or delaying further needs which may develop.

Parent carers of children under 18

Parent carers have a right to a stand-alone assessment and right to services under the Children and Families Act 2014. This is called a “parent carers needs assessment”.

Where requested, then the local authority must assess whether that parent has needs for support and, if so, what those needs are. If needs are identified in the assessment the local authority should identify support and services available to help the carer and their family.

For further information on carers rights, as well as template letters that can be used to request an assessment, please visit our website here.