Published 19th November 2021
Carers Rights Day is coming up on Thursday 25 November. The day is held to ensure carers are aware of their rights, let carers know where to get help and support and raise awareness of the needs of carers.
At Carers Matter Norfolk we have a team of carer advisors who are able to help carers understand what is available and might be beneficial to them. Some of what carers are entitled to are legal rights, but there is also other help and support available. Here are a few of the things people looking after a family member or friend might find useful to know:
If you care for someone, you can have an assessment to see what might help make your life easier. This is called a carer’s assessment. It is important to know that what is being ‘assessed’ is what would be beneficial to you as a carer, it is not an assessment of how well you are caring.
It might recommend things like:
- someone to help with caring so you can take a break
- help with gardening and housework
- training on skills such as how to lift safely that can help with your caring role
- putting you in touch with local support groups so you have people to talk to
- advice about benefits for carers
A carer’s assessment is free and anyone over 18 can ask for one (see below for information for parent carers and young carers). It’s separate from the assessment the person you care for might have, but may sometimes be completed at the same time if that will be easiest for you and the person you care for.
Parent carers assessment
Thanks to the Children and Families Act 2014, all parent carers have a right to ask for an assessment of their needs at any time.
The aim of a Parent Carer Needs assessment is to give you a chance to tell social services about the things that could make looking after your child easier for you.
You can view more information here – contact.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Carers-assessments.pdf
Caring Together are working with Family Voice, Norfolk County Council and others to improve the Parent Carers Needs Assessments process.
Young Carers’ Assessment
If you or your parents request it, you are entitled to a young carer’s assessment. This assessment is different to the one adult carers have.
It will look at the kind of help you and your family might need. If you or your parents feel that your needs or circumstances have changed you can request another assessment.
Your young carer’s assessment will look at your education, training, leisure opportunities and views about your future.
You could be entitled to carer’s allowance if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits. You do not have to be related to, or live with, the person you care for. You do not get paid extra if you care for more than one person.
If you have had to give up work or decrease your working hours due to your caring role you may be entitled to carer’s credit.
If you care for someone for a minimum of 20 hours a week, and are under the State Pension age it is worth checking if you are eligible.
You can see a tool Mobilise have to help you understand more at https://www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/carers-credit?s=09
Support from your GP
You can make sure that your GP knows you are a carer and understands your role. This means that you should be able to get specific support such as being able to get a flu jab, and through this, carers have been prioritised for the coronavirus vaccination and boosters. They should take account of your caring role’s impact on your health. And they may have specific support in place for carers, such as carers groups, annual health checks and flexible appointments for you and the person you care for.
Support and services you can access
Speak to us or visit our website to find out more about what you can benefit from.
- Someone to talk to – Having someone to talk to can make a big difference. The support we available to you as carer, includes:
- Groups and activities where you can meet and talk to other carers and/or former carers. See carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/groups/
- Our helpline where you can be given advice and information on what is available to you as a carer. This includes information on other activities you may want to be part of. See carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/contact-us/
- Other support may be available through our Health and Wellbeing Fund. See carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/information-and-advice/your-wellbeing/health-and-wellbeing-fund/
- Emergency planning – What if something happens to you, which means you are unable to look after your loved one? Having an emergency plan will help give you peace of mind as well as giving the person you care for practical support in an emergency. An emergency counts as any unplanned event, such as:
- Sudden illness
- Unplanned admission to hospital
- Family emergency (e.g. close relative taken ill)
- See how you can make and register your emergency plan at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/information-and-advice/your-rights/making-an-emergency-plan/
Other support available to you
Depending on your situation there can be other support you can benefit from.
- Your employer may have policies available that can help you. These may be specific to carers or for situations where people have caring responsibilities, or they may be other policies you can benefit from such as on flexible working. And you can also talk to your employer about what support or flexibility they can make available.
- Schools will have support for pupils in place. Making the school aware a pupil is a young carer will help them access what is available.
- If the person you care for is admitted to hospital make them aware that you are their carer. You can consider the role you want to have while they are in hospital, and plan for when they return home. Hospitals often have support policies in place that recognise and value the role of carers. And you should be involved in planning the discharge of the person you care for. See more at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/information-and-advice/your-rights/hospital-admission-and-discharge-planning/
- There are laws and rights people have that relate to areas such as work and property that are relevant to carers. These include rights around not being discriminated against, and rights to flexible working. Mobilise have produced a guide to carers rights which includes information on these at www.mobiliseonline.co.uk/carers-rights
Your right to have your voice heard
As a carer, you are an ‘expert’ through your ‘lived experience’ of caring and should be able to have a say in services, policies and decisions that affect you and the people that you care for.
We call this the ‘Carers Voice’. Carers Matter Norfolk is a carer-led service; carers are involved in decisions at every level. From helping us to decide how we should use our time and resources to best meet your needs and those of other carers, to looking at how effective we are in what we do.
Carers Voice is led within Carers Matter Norfolk by Carers Voice Norfolk & Waveney, a user-led organisation providing the independent voice of carers.
Learn more at carersmatternorfolk.org.uk/carers-voice/