From April 2015 carers of all ages are entitled to an assessment of their needs irrespective of whether the person they care for has eligible needs. If the carer has eligible needs of their own, they will have the right to support from the council to help them carry on caring and look after their own well-being. The purpose of the assessment is to talk about your own needs and discuss what help you may need with caring. It should be carried out one-to-one (unless you request to complete the forms in your own time) and you can ask to have it done in private away from the person you care for.
The Care Act (and Children and Families Act 2014, another major piece of legislation) puts a clear duty on local authorities to take a whole family approach to assessments, including identifying and if appropriate supporting any young carers (children and young people who are aged under 18 and care for someone else).
To request a Carers’ Needs Assessment, call Surrey County Council’s Adult Social Care Contact Centre on 0300 200 1005 or text to 07527 182861. Alternatively speak to your local Carer Support Worker - click here for details of a Carer’s Support Scheme near you - who can arrange it for you. It may help you prepare to look first at the relevant legislation at www.gov.uk
Carers Direct Payments are one-off cash payments up to the value of £500 which you can use to buy services for yourself. These are different from any payments that the person you care for may receive as part of their own assessment to give you a break from caring and are not intended for you to purchase replacement care. You could use the money to pursue a hobby, go away or even buy a laptop. The amount you are awarded depends on the level of need identified by your Carer's Assessment.