Support from social services
The person you care for has a right to a community care assessment from their local social services, social work department or health and social care trust. This is to see whether they have a need for social care services.
If you’re looking after someone on a regular and substantial basis, you also have a right to a carer’s assessment. This can be an opportunity to speak with a social worker about any help you need with caring, as well as what help you might need to keep yourself healthy. You might also discuss how to balance caring with your life, work and family commitments.
You may want to talk about:
- any housing issues you may have
- your own health and the health of the person you care for
- the amount of time you spend caring and how you feel about it
- any equipment you may need to help you continue to support the person, such as a wheelchair, commode or hoist
- how caring is affecting your relationships
- how you would deal with emergencies
- your concerns for the future.
During a carer’s assessment, the social worker will discuss your concerns about your paid work. You should mention any problems you have in balancing working with caring.
When available, support from social services can be very helpful. For example, you could ask for a paid care worker to visit the person you care for at different times of the day, or days of the week, to fit in with a flexible working arrangement you may have.
There are set criteria about who is eligible for social services.
If your needs, and those of the person you care for, meet these criteria, these services must be provided.
A financial assessment will also be carried out to decide whether or not you would need to contribute to the cost of the service. As a carer, you should be assessed on your own resources and earnings, not those of the person you care for.
If you’ve been assessed as having a need for social services, you may be entitled to get direct payments from your local authority. These payments are also sometimes called individual budget/personal budget payments. This means that you are given payments to organise care services yourself, rather than the local social services organising and paying for them for you.
You can also have help with how you go about getting the care services if you are struggling with this. You should discuss this with social services when they agree to your payment.
If you live in England, Scotland or Wales, you can get information about direct payments and individual budgets from gov.uk (in the disabled people section), or from your local authority.
If you live in Northern Ireland, visit nidirect.gov.uk (see the caring for someone section).
Help from social services for the person you’re caring for can include:
- help at home – for example, to get them up in the morning, cook them a meal or help with their personal hygiene and care needs
- access to a meal or, in some circumstances, help to prepare them a meal
- day care services
- aids and equipment
- home adaptations
- respite care.
Carers’ services can be anything that will help you in your caring role or maintain your own health and well-being while caring.
This can include:
- respite care to give you a break
- counselling to deal with emotional issues
- help from local voluntary organisations, for example support groups and benefit checks.