Preparing for a carer's assessment

If you care for a disabled child, you can have an assessment to see what support might help make your life easier. This is called a carer's assessment (also known as a ‘parent carer’s assessment’).

A carer's assessment focuses on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is separate from your child's needs assessment which looks at the things they need, like healthcare, equipment or help at home.

It can recommend things like:

  • temporary or regular breaks from caring
  • help with your travel costs
  • advice about benefits and support for carers
  • information on local support groups
  • gym membership and exercise classes to relieve stress
  • training on how to lift safely

A carer's assessment is free. You have the right to ask for one at any time.

How to get a carer’s assessment

Contact your local authority to ask for a carer's assessment.

GOV.UK: Find your local authority

Self-assessment

If you only need information, advice or simple equipment to support you in your caring role, you may be able to do a self-assessment online.

Contact your local authority to ask whether they offer online assessments. You can ask Carers UK to help you fill in the form.

Before your assessment

Your local authority may publish a checklist to help you prepare for a carer’s assessment. The checklist may not cover everything, as each caring role is different.

Search for ‘carer’s assessment checklist’ on your local authority’s website (GOV.UK).

Which? has a checklist for preparing for a carer’s assessment - regardless of your age.

What happens in the assessment

Someone from your local authority, or an organisation your local authority works with, will ask how you are coping with caring.

This includes how it affects your:

  • wellbeing
  • mental and physical health
  • relationships
  • work or education
  • free time

Give as much detail as you can about how caring for your child is affecting your life. For example, if your child does not sleep or your family is finding it difficult to cope. This will help make sure you get the support you need.

The assessment is usually face to face, for example, in your home. Some councils can do it over the phone or online.

Assessments usually last around an hour.

Documents you need

You will need:

  • your GP's name, address and phone number
  • contact details of anyone who's going to be with you during your assessment
  • the name, address, date of birth of your child
  • your email address, if you have one

Have someone with you

It can help if you have someone with you during the assessment, like a friend or relative.

You could also use an advocate. Advocates are people who speak up on your behalf. They can help you fill in forms and sit with you in meetings and assessments. They're usually free. NHS.UK: Find an advocate in your area

POhWER can give you more information on how an advocate can help.

What happens next

You will usually get the results of the assessment within a week. If you qualify for help from the local authority, they'll write a care and support plan with you that sets out how they can help.

The plan outlines:

  • the type of support you need
  • how you will get this support
  • how much money your local authority will contribute to your care

Visit NHS.UK to find out about care and support plans.

Paying for care

Your council might be able to help with care costs. You will need a financial assessment (means test) if the support is longer term or worth over £1,000. Your assessor will arrange this for you after your carer’s assessment.

You might also qualify for benefits for carers that can help with costs, such as Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance (GOV.UK)

One-off payments

If you qualify for support, you might be able to get a one-off payment (also known as a ‘direct payment’). This is to cover the cost of the services they would have to pay to meet your needs. For example, you may need help with the cost of driving lessons to help you continue in your caring role.

Detailed information on direct payments (Carers UK)

If you do not qualify for help from your local authority

If you are told you do not qualify for support, your local authority should give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. Ask your local authority if this does not happen.

If you disagree with the results

If you are unhappy with your assessment or your care and support plan, you have a right to complain.

First complain to your local authority. It should have a formal complaints procedure on its website. You can find out more about the social care complaints procedure on Citizens Advice.

If you disagree with the way the local authority handles your complaint, contact the local government and social care ombudsman. This is an independent person who looks into complaints about organisations.

Carer’s assessments - further information

If you want to talk to someone about carer's assessments, call:

Last reviewed by Scope on: 02/04/2019

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