As a carer you have specific legal rights and entitlements. Knowing your rights can help you to get the support that you need and include:
- the right to have your needs assessed by your local authority
- the right not to be discriminated against
- rights if you are in employment
Your right to an assessment
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.
See Carers Assessments for further details.
Carers and employment
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.
The Care Act
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.