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How to get a carer's assessment

If you're a carer, you may want your own assessment by social services to look at support or services you need. The way that you can get a carer's assessment will depend on your circumstances.

If you're regularly providing a substantial amount of care for someone, social services have a legal obligation to let you know that you have a right to your own carer’s assessment. They should let you know about this when they carry out an assessment of the person you are looking after (the community care assessment). The information should be available in different languages and formats.

If social services does not provide any services to the person you're looking after, you can contact them and request a carer’s assessment.

If social services are providing services to the person you are looking after but there are no plans to assess them or reassess them, you can still ask for your own carer’s assessment.

If the person you're looking after is being discharged from hospital, you will be offered your own assessment as part of discussions about the plans for them leaving hospital.

If the person you're looking after has severe mental health problems, you may have additional rights to your own assessment as their carer. That would be the case if he or she were provided with support and services under the 'Care Programme Approach'.

Common questions

I don't do substantial caring - can I still get assessed?

You would not be able to have a separate assessment of your own but social services should consult you when they assess the person you're looking after. They should listen to your views and preferences about the assistance or services that could be provided for the person you care for. This would include taking account of whether or not you are willing to continue being a carer.

If you have your own health problems, it is possible that you would be eligible for a community care assessment of your own.

How do I contact social services?

Every local authority has a social services department. There are usually separate teams dealing with adults and children’s services. Find your local authority contact on the directory of local carers services.

You could telephone or write to social services to ask for a carer’s assessment (see sample letter below).

We live separately - which local authority does the assessment?

It would normally be the local authority for the person you're looking after. If that is going to cause some practical difficulties, you could ask social services if they could arrange for the assessment to be carried out by an organisation closer to where you live.

Is it possible to be assessed before I start caring?

Yes, you're entitled to have an assessment if you're intending to provide 'regular' and 'substantial' care to someone.

Does the person I look after need to know?

No, this is not necessary. You can ask to have the assessment at a place and time of your choosing. It does not have to take place in the presence of the person you are looking after. You can expect social services to regard what you say to them as confidential.

Can I have someone to support me at the assessment?

Yes, you can ask to have a friend or advocate at the assessment and you should ask for an interpreter if you need one.

What if the assessment I asked for hasn't happened yet?

Contact social services again to find out why the assessment has not yet been arranged. Let social services know if your situation and/or the situation of the person you are looking after is becoming very difficult or deteriorating. If the delay continues, you may want to make a complaint.

Sample letter requesting a carer's assessment

 Your name
 Your address
 Your telephone number


Social services address

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to request a carer’s assessment under the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 and the Carers and Disabled Chidren Act 2000.

I have been caring on a regular and substantial basis for (name and address of the person you look after) since (date).
I will be caring for (name and address of the person you will soon start caring for) from (date).

She/he is my (state your relationship with them, for example mother, friend).

(Name of person) needs help because she/he (outline the disabilities or health problems the person you care for has). The help I provide includes (give examples such as helping the person get dressed or making sure they are safe).

I would like to discuss the possible support or services that would help me in my caring role. Please contact me to arrange to carry out an assessment (NB: state how you prefer to be contacted and, if it's by phone, is a good time to contact you).

Yours faithfully,

(Your signature)

(Your name)


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Last reviewed: 13/07/2011

Next review due: 13/07/2013

Call Carers Direct on 0808 802 0202

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Lines are open 9am to 8pm Monday to Friday (except bank holidays), 11am to 4pm at weekends. Calls are free from UK landlines and mobiles or you can request a free call back.

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Find out more about the Carers Direct helpline.

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