If you are responsible for looking after someone that needs additional support, either due to disabilities, illness or ageing, you have rights as a carer.
In this blog, we are going to outline your rights when caring for a relative or friend. We will also provide information on the support you can receive.
Am I A Carer?
If you look after an adult who is disabled, ill or elderly, and you do not get paid to look after them, you are most likely a carer.
You may live with the person you care for. But even if you do not live with them, you will still be considered their carer if you spend a significant amount of time caring for them. This can be a few hours every day to 24/7 care.
In general, carer’s carry out tasks such as:
- helping someone with personal care, such as washing, dressing and getting in/out of bed
- preparing meals and ensuring the person in your care eats a healthy diet
- taking them to (and attending) appointments, such as GP appointments
- doing their shopping, cleaning, household chores
- providing companionship
- helping them to pay bills
- ensuring they are taking any medication correctly.
You do not have to carry out all of these tanks to be considered a carer.
Right To A Carer’s Assessment
If you spend a significant amount of time caring for another adult, you have the right to a carer’s assessment. Carer’s assessments are important as they record the impact that caring has on your life and determine what support and services you are eligible for and entitled to.
If the assessment identifies that you have needs as a carer, support will be made available to you. This might include help from social care, paid services, and support from voluntary services and charities.
A financial assessment may also be carried out if it is found that you need paid services. The carer’s assessment may also determine whether or not you are entitled to direct payments as a carer.
Rights In Employment
Many people who are responsible for caring for a relative or friend do so whilst in full time or part-time employment. In fact, 5 million people in the UK juggle caring for a relative or friend with working.
Fitting caring responsibilities around your job and other commitments can be extremely challenging. But you do have rights as an employer.
Under the Equality Act 2010, you cannot be discriminated against because of your caring responsibilities. For example, you cannot be treated less favourably in the workplace or refused promotion due to your commitments to care for someone.
In addition, you have the right to request flexible working where required, to help you juggle your caring responsibilities. You also have the right to take unpaid time off during emergencies without it affecting your employment.
Rights To Receiving Support
As mentioned previously, carer’s are often entitled to support, including financial support to ease the hardships that come with caring for a relative or friend. Depending on your income, financial situation and living arrangement, you may be able to get:
- Carer’s Allowance and other benefits
- help with paying for prescriptions through the NHS low-income scheme
- reduced household costs, including a free or discounted TV licence from TV Licensing or council tax discounts
- grant or financial support from a local charity or trust
In addition, if you have had to give up your job or cut down your paid work to care for someone, you may receive contributions towards your state pension. Carers UK provides information to help you protect your pension.
Aside from financial support, you have the right to other types of support. Local councils offer a wide range of support for carers.
These services range from respite care and GP support to support provided by specialist local carer's organisations. Some services are free and others require payment. Carer’s UK outlines the support available in this guide.
When an individual needs care, their living arrangements can make a huge difference in their life. Some living options are better than others for both you and the person you are caring for. Sheltered housing, for example, is designed for the elderly and those with accessibility needs.
It is ideal for seniors as it provides them with their own safe and secure self-contained flat whilst helping them maintain their independence. Sheltered accommodation (also known as Independent Living Schemes) also have 24/7 emergency pull cords and an onsite manager.
So, as a carer, you can come and go as you please and have peace of mind that your relative or friend has 24/7 emergency support if they need it.
Get In Touch
Accent Housing is a housing association providing homes to a diverse range of people across England. We have sheltered accommodation in the North, East and South of the country. Get in touch to find out more.