A new deal for carers came into force in April 2015, giving them extra help in their caring role as well as placing new emphasis on looking after their own well-being.
From that date, the Care Act 2014 set out to improve care and support for all those who need practical and emotional help through illness or disability - and this includes new provisions for the thousands of unpaid adult carers in the community.
For the first time, the rights of those providing care are on the same legal footing as those they care for.
The Act, which represents the most significant change in social care law for 60 years and seeks to equalise care and support provision across the country, is underpinned by the new statutory principle of individual well-being.
This gives local authorities the duty of taking steps to prevent, reduce or delay the need for care and support for all local people - and a duty to ensure people’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is at the centre of all it does.
The Act aims to put people in control of their care. A personal budget will form part of the care and support package. Where individuals, including carers, have a personal budget, they have payments made direct.
The Act places a duty on local authorities to ensure information and advice on care and support is available to all, when they need it. Independent advocacy must also be arranged if a person is unable to understand or participate in the care and support system.
It also requires local authorities to work with other public authorities, such as health and housing, to integrate provision.
The Care Act also included a lifetime cap on care costs, so that no-one would have to pay more than £72,000 towards the care element of their eligible needs in their lifetime, and extended financial support to ensure more people are eligible for care and support. But these changes have been delayed by the Government until 2020.
What is a carer’s assessment?
This is a new right for adult carers. It will look at how caring affects your life and work out what you need to carry on, however many hours you spend caring for someone or what you do as a carer. It includes your caring role, your feelings about being a carer, your own physical and emotional well- being and how caring impacts on your work or education, leisure, wider family and relationships. This is not a financial means-test, though you may be asked about how the cost of caring affects your finances.
The carer’s allowance that some people receive for caring on a full-time basis is different and does require a means-test. If you are eligible to receive services to support your ongoing caring role, you will receive these free of charge. Having a carer’s assessment will not affect you right to receive carer’s allowance. You can have a carer’s assessment even if the person you care for does not receive council help.
What about parents caring for a disabled child or a young carer under the age of 18?
You have similar rights under the Children and Families Act. If you or the person you are looking after is about to reach the age of 18, you will be able to get a so-called ‘transition assessment’ which will let you know whether you are likely to be eligible for support as an adult caring for another adult.
How do you arrange an assessment?
Contact the Carers Agency Partnership on 0808 808 9876.
The Care Act was piloted through parliament by
North Norfolk MP and then Care Minister Norman
Lamb who said it “creates a single, modern law
that makes it clear what kind of care people