Carer's assessment

This information applies to England and Wales.

If you care for a disabled person, 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.

Young carers also can have a carer’s assessment. Some might call this a young carer’s assessment.

A carer's assessment focuses on your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. This is separate from a needs assessment, which looks at what the disabled person needs, like healthcare, equipment or help at home.

It might recommend things like:

You have the right to ask for a carer's assessment at any time.

Carer’s assessments: your needs as a carer (Contact)

Young carer’s assessment

A young carer is someone under the age of 18 who helps care for a family member, relative or friend who is disabled.

If you’re 16 to 25 years old and have caring responsibilities, you might be called a young adult carer.

Being a young carer: your rights (NHS)

All young carers are entitled to a young carer's assessment. The process is the same as a carer's assessment.

During a young carer's assessment, a social worker will look at the young carer’s:

  • caring responsibilities
  • support

This can include attending education and social activities.

Young carer's assessments for under-18s (Carers First)

Being a young carer can be difficult. If you’re struggling, look for advice online, speak with someone you trust or contact a helpline.

Advice and support for young carers (The Children’s Society)

Sidekick: a confidential helpline for young carers

Most local authorities have a support group for young carers.

How to get a carer’s assessment

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

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

Self-assessment

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

Contact your local authority to ask whether they offer online assessments.

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.

Find your local authority (GOV.UK)

For example, Bristol City Council includes:

  • day to day care
  • health and mental wellbeing
  • family responsibilities
  • support and leisure
  • work, education and training
  • finance
  • risks
  • culture and religion
  • access to information and advice
  • emergency planning
  • your views about caring

Carer's assessment checklist (Bristol City Council)

What happens in the assessment

The local authority assessor will ask how you are coping with caring. This includes how it affects your:

  • wellbeing
  • mental and physical health
  • relationships
  • work or education
  • leisure or interests

Give as much detail as you can about how caring affects 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

You can have someone with you

It can help if you have someone with you during the assessment, this could be a:

  • friend or relative
  • professional advocate

A friend or relative will understand your caring responsibilities. They can offer support and help you explain things.

An advocate is someone who supports you to explain what you want. They can help you fill in forms and sit with you in meetings and assessments. They're usually free.

Advocates for social care assessments and appeals

Find an advocate in your area (NHS)

After the assessment

It is a good idea to ask for a copy of your assessment and an expected timescale.

If you qualify for help from the local authority, they'll write a carer 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

If you qualify for support, you will have a financial assessment.

Financial assessment

Local authorities can charge for care and support following carer’s assessments. Most people will have to pay something towards their care.

Your local authority will carry out a financial assessment. This will decide how much you can afford as your weekly contribution.

Financial assessment for social care

Challenging a carer’s assessment

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.

Social care complaints procedure (Citizens Advice)

Writing a formal complaint about your social care needs assessment

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

Local government and social care ombudsman

Warning Complaints can take time

If the complaints process takes longer than 3 months, you cannot challenge the decision in court.

You may want to get legal advice to decide the best option for you and your situation before you complain. It could also help you understand your rights.

Disability Law Service is a national charity that gives free legal advice about community care to disabled people, their families and carers.

Community Care (Disability Law Service)

Help with costs of caring

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

Carer’s Allowance

Benefits and other ways of funding the extra costs of being disabled

Benefits and funding the extra costs of having a disabled child

Finding and applying for grants

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.

Direct payments (Carers UK)

If you do not qualify for help from your local authority

If you do not qualify for support, your local authority should give you free advice about where you can get help in your community. You might have to pay for the services that they suggest.

Ask your local authority if this does not happen.

Talk to someone

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

Last reviewed by Scope on: 25/10/2023

Was this page helpful?

We're sorry to hear that.

Tell us how we can improve it

More on social care