Carers’ assessments

Carers’ assessments are your local authority’s way of finding out what support you need as a carer.

Your local authority should offer one to you as well as a needs assessment for the person you support.

In Scotland, a carer’s assessment might be called an “adult carer support plan”. In Wales, you might hear it called a “carer’s needs assessment”. The information on this page covers carer’s assessments in all parts of the UK, except where otherwise stated. 

If you think you could benefit from a carer’s assessment, find out more on this page about how to request one and what to expect. 

On this page: 

What is a carer’s assessment?

A carer’s assessment is an assessment designed to find out what impact caring has on your life. It looks at how caring affects your life and work, and how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family.  

It isn’t a test to check whether what you’re doing is good enough. It’s about finding out what support would help you in your caring role. 

Carer’s assessment eligibility

Anyone aged 18 or over who cares for someone disabled, ill or elderly is entitled to a carer’s assessment. 

It could be any kind of care, and it doesn’t matter how much care you provide. 

It also doesn’t matter what your financial situation is, nor whether you live with the person you care for. 

If you’re not sure if you’re a carer, read our page about what a carer is.

The person you care for doesn’t need to have had a needs assessment for you to be entitled to a carer’s assessment. 

If you and the person you care for both agree, their assessment and your carer’s assessment could be done at the same time. 

What kind of support can I get?

As a result of your carer’s assessment, your local authority might be able to give you some practical help with caring. 

This could include things like:

  • Equipment.
  • Information about local support groups.
  • Some extra support for the person you care for.
  • Respite care (to give you a short break from caring)
  • Practical help and advice on issues like applying for benefits. 
  • Emotional support such as counselling. 

You might also be entitled to a personal budget, which could be paid as a direct payment.

How to get a carer’s assessment

If the person you care for is known to local social services, you should be offered a carer’s assessment.

If you haven’t been offered a carer’s assessment and you would like one, you can request one.

Get in touch with the social services department of your local council (or the local council covering the area where the person you care for lives). 

If you’re a parent who cares for a disabled child, you should contact the children with disabilities department, or equivalent, at your local authority.

If you’re in Wales, you should contact your own council, regardless of where the person you care for lives.

If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact your trust. 

Find your local council.

How to prepare for a carers’ assessment

Before your carer’s assessment, it’s a good idea to collect some key information, including:

  • Your NHS number.
  • The details of your GP. 
  • Your email address.
  • Details of the person you care for (their name, address, date of birth and NHS number). 

You might also want to think about whether you’d like to bring anyone with you to the assessment. You can ask to bring a friend or relative along to support you. 

Questions to consider

These are some questions you might want to spend some time thinking about before your assessment.

  • How do your caring responsibilities impact your working life?
  • How much time do you have for other relationships and hobbies?
  • Are you getting enough sleep and eating well?
  • Does caring affect you emotionally (for example, do you ever feel overwhelmed or lonely)?
  • Does it impact you physically (for example, do you have aches and pains from heavy lifting)?

What happens during a carers’ assessment?

Your carer’s assessment will probably last for at least an hour.

Usually, it happens face-to-face, but some councils might do it online or over the phone. 

You’ll be asked some questions about your work, relationships and caring responsibilities.

The assessor will want to understand how caring impacts your physical and mental wellbeing. It’s best to be as honest as possible, and not try to sugar-coat any difficulties you have. 

The person you care for doesn’t need to be present at the assessment. 

What if I disagree with the outcome of my carer’s assessment?

If you don’t qualify for direct support from the council, they should still give you some free advice about where you can get some support for your health and wellbeing. 

If this doesn’t happen, you can follow up with them to ask for it. 

If you disagree with the decision the council has made, you can make a complaint to them.

See Carers UK for more information on making a complaint about a care service.

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We support people with complex disabilities and their families and carers all over the UK.

This content was last reviewed in July 2023. We’ll review it again next year.