What do I need to know about being a carer?

Carer definition

Providing care and support that is unpaid for someone who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or addiction and cannot cope without your support. This could be a family member, partner or friend. 

Anyone can be one including children and adults, mother, father, guardian, brother, sister, daughter, son, partner, friend. You are still a carer if you are looking after a family member. 

What is the role of a carer? 

This will vary according to the individual needs of the person they care for but they could include:

  • personal care such as help with bathing and dressing and toileting needs 
  • managing medication by collecting prescriptions, giving medication 
  • going to any appointments including GP and hospital and therapy such as Physio 
  • providing transport to activities, appointments, taking them shopping 
  • help managing finances, filling in paperwork 
  • emotional support, sitting with them and listening, supporting 
  • supervising them if they cannot be left alone for their own safety or due to medical needs 

What is a carer’s assessment? 

If you are in a caring role this assesses what you might need to make things easier for you. It’s a chance for you to talk about the care you provide and the impact it has on your life.  The assessment is free and anyone over the age of 18 can request one.

You can find out how to access an assessment local to you here.

Young Carers and Carers of children under 18

Young carers are children under 18 with caring responsibilities.

A parent carer is someone over 18 who provides care to a disabled child for whom they have parental responsibility.

Someone over 18 who provides care to a disabled child for whom they do not have parental responsibility (such as a grandparent) is a  non-parent carer of a disabled child.

The Children and Families Act 2014

The Children and Families Act 2014 details that local councils are to assess parent carers on the appearance of need or where an assessment is requested by the parent. This assessment can be combined with one for the disabled child and could be carried out by the same person at the same time. 

How to register as an unpaid carer 

Register with your GP.  Some surgeries offer a GP carer registration form on their website but you can also access registration templates from CarersUK. The benefits of being registered are that you can access additional support and resources available to you and letting your GP know will mean that they can support you in your role.

Can I claim carer’s allowance?

Carer’s allowance could be available to you if you take on a caring role for someone for at least 35 hours a week. You do not need to be related to or live with the person but if they have more than one person looking after them the allowance can only be claimed by one person.

You can find out more about your eligibility to claim and applying here.

What benefits can you claim if you’re a carer?

Turn2Us offers a benefits calculator which can help you to assess what support you may be entitled to.  You can also search Turn2Us grants to find out what you can access from grant-giving charities.

You may also be able to claim:

  • Universal credit
  • Carer’s credit
  • Pension credit

Turn2Us helps people in financial need to access grants, welfare benefits and other financial help. They offer a helpline which is open Monday -Friday from 9-5 pm.

You can contact Turn2us on 0808 802 2000.

Further support for carers

You can access local help and support for you as a carer by using the FamilyCarersNet ‘Near you’ search directory.

Join the pod connecting you to families and professionals who understand what you’re going through. The support and advice you need at your fingertips. 

Money & Legal

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