Your Rights As A Carer

As a carer you have specific legal rights and entitlements. Knowing your rights can help you to get the support that you need.

Since April 2015, all carers now have the legal right to a carer’s assessment of their own needs, regardless of whether the person they care for is in receipt of any support from social services. A carer’s assessment can be really helpful as it looks at the different ways that caring affects your daily life and works out how you can carry on doing the things that are important to you and your family. Your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing are at the heart of the assessment.

As a result of having the assessment, you may be eligible for support and possibly a direct payment. A carer’s assessment is free and confidential.

For more information, please visit Carer’s Assessments.

Since the Employment Act 2002 became law, working parents of disabled children under 18 have the right to request flexible working arrangements. Furthermore, since April 2007, you also have the right to ask for flexible working if you are a carer of an adult who is a relative or lives at the same address as you.

While you have the right to ask for flexible work in these circumstances, it is important to know that employers are not bound to grant these requests. However, they must give business reasons for refusing a request for flexible working.

Carers also have the right to take unpaid time off work for dependents (the people they care for) in an emergency.

For more information, please visit Carers UK – Your rights in work.

The Care Act replaces most current law regarding carers and people being cared for. It outlines the way in which local authorities should carry out carer’s assessments and needs assessments; how local authorities should determine who is eligible for support; the new obligations on local authorities; and how local authorities should charge for both residential care and community care.

The Care Act is mainly for adults in need of care and support, and their adult carers. There are some provisions for the transition of children in need of care and support, parent carers of children in need of care and support, and young carers. However the main provisions for these groups (before transition) are in the Children and Families Act 2014.

For more information, please visit Your guide to the Care Act (England) – Carers UK.

You can ask your GP practice to identify you as a carer on your patient record. This can mean that you will be called forward for priority vaccines and other public health campaigns where carers are listed as priority patients.

For more information, please visit Carers UK – Talking to your GP.

If you are the main carer for an older or disabled person, who may be put at risk if you became ill, or if you are in receipt of Carer’s Allowance, you should be offered a free flu jab. Carers are also a priority group for the Covid booster vaccination this winter.

For more information, please visit NHS – Flu vaccine and NHS – Covid vaccination.

Did you know that you can be supported by our teams when the person you care for is in hospital? To find out more, please visit Carers Support at Milton Keynes University Hospital.

For more general advice, please visit Carers UK – Coming out of hospital.

Do you have a back-up plan for what should happen if you are unable to care for your loved one temporarily?

It can sometimes feel overwhelming to think too far ahead, but if you put a plan in place, that can give you valuable peace of mind today for what tomorrow might bring.

Please visit What to do in an emergency for tips on creating an emergency plan and download your own plan from there, or call us and we’ll send one to you.

It can really help to have money and legal matters in order. Are you aware of any benefits that you or the person you care for might be entitled to? Have you put a Lasting Power of Attorney plan in place?

To help you make informed decisions, we have several information pages on this. Please visit Money and Legal Matters.

On 6th April 2024, the Carer’s Leave Act 2023 came into force, giving employees with unpaid caring roles the right to take up to five days of unpaid leave from work each year to fulfil their caring responsibilities.

Millions of people in the UK are juggling their unpaid caring role with paid employment, and unpaid carers often say they struggle to manage their own physical and mental health.

The Carer’s Leave Act applies to all employees in England, Scotland and Wales providing ‘long-term care’. Employees taking Carer’s Leave will have the same employment protections as associated with other forms of family related leave. This includes protection from dismissal or detriment as a result of having taken the leave.

For more information, please visit Carers UK.

We expect this to become law in 2024. Anyone, including unpaid carers, will be entitled to ask their employer for changes to their working hours, times of work, or place of work from day one. You can make two requests in any 12-month period, as long as they’re not made concurrently.

Are you caring for someone?

Do you look after someone who cannot manage without you because they are ill, frail or have a disability? 

If so, you are a carer and Carers MK can help you.