Adult Carers Rights
As a carer you are likely to face a number of challenges and understanding your rights and those of the person you care for can help you to get the support you need to meet those challenges.
Carers Wellbeing Assessment
If you are a carer looking after someone in North Tyneside and you appear to have a need for support, you should be offered a carer’s assessment by North Tyneside Council. You are entitled to an assessment no matter what your level of need, the amount of care you provide, your financial circumstances or whether the person you care for accesses services.
A carer is an adult who provides or intends to provide ‘necessary’ care for another adult who has care and support needs. ‘Necessary’ care means activities that the person should be able to carry out as part of normal daily life, but is unable to do so because of their care and support needs.
If you would like a Carers’ Wellbeing Assessment, you can contact the Council’s Gateway Team on (0191) 643 2777. Alternatively, if you would like more information on the process you can contact the Carers’ Centre on 0191643 2298.
Your carer’s assessment should cover:
- how your caring role affects your health and wellbeing
- your feelings and choices about caring and whether you wish or are able to continue in your caring role
- your desire or ability to work, study or undertake training
- your ability to maintain relationships that are important to you
- your ability to enjoy social activities and have a life outside of caring
- planning for emergencies
The local authority will consider three questions when determining a carers’ eligibility:
- Are the carer’s needs the result of providing necessary care?
- Does the caring role have an impact on the carer?
- Is there, or is there likely to be, a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing?
If you are deemed to have eligible needs these can be met by providing you with:
- advice and/or information
- supporting you to make use of community resources
- replacement care such as respite directly to the person you care for
If your needs still cannot be met in this way, then you may be allocated a personal budget to pay for support. The support you could get will depend on your individual circumstances and what you feel will improve your situation.
This could include:
- driving lessons
- taxi fares
- a laptop
- help with housework
- a short break
- a gym membership.
Even if you are not considered to be eligible for support the local authority must provide you with information and advice on local services to prevent your needs from developing further.
North Tyneside Council’s Information website ‘My Care’ offers a useful tool for you to think about. My Care allows your to explore your own needs as a carer and find help, information and support. To access the online form for carers click here.
Assessment for the Person You Care For
If the person you are looking after is an adult and appears to have a need for support, they should be offered a needs assessment by North Tyneside Council. They are entitled to an assessment regardless of their level of need or their financial means.
The assessment will look at their physical, mental and emotional needs. As a carer, you are entitled to be involved in the assessment. Following the assessment, the local authority will decide whether the person you are looking after is eligible for support.
Examples of the kind of support they could be offered includes:
- Changes to a care package in their home
- Help to them get out and about
- Adaptations to the home, to make it more suitable
- A place at a day centre or a temporary stay in residential care.
Whether the local authority will pay for any support will depend on the financial situation of the person you are looking after. Unless the support is of a type which must be provided free of charge, such as aids or minor adaptations (adaptations up to the value of £1,000).
Even if the person you are caring for is not considered to be eligible for support, the local authority must still provide them with advice and information about services and support in the community that can help them.
If you would like to discuss support for the person you care for, you can contact the Council’s Gateway Team on (0191) 643 2777.
Benefits and Other Financial Support
The benefits system is complicated. Therefore it is a good idea to get advice to make sure you and the person you are looking after are claiming all the benefits that you are entitled to. North Tyneside Carers’ Centre works with local providers and can refer you for a benefits check. Contact us on 0191 643 2298.
Attendance Allowance is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of long-term illness or disability, which can be either physical and/or mental. It is for people over their state pension age. To find out more about making a claim visit www.gov.uk
Carer’s Allowance is the main benefit for carers. If you are caring for someone for 35 hours a week or more and the person you care for gets one of the qualifying benefits, you may be eligible. To find out more about making a claim visit www.gov.uk.
Carer’s Credit is a way of protecting your State Pension rights if you are looking after someone, but are not paying National Insurance contributions through paid work and are unable to claim Carer’s Allowance. You do not get paid any money if you claim Carer’s Credit. However you do get a National Insurance contribution credit to help protect your record (which helps to protect your entitlement to a State Pension). To find out more about making a claim visit www.gov.uk.
Disability Living Allowance
Disability Living Allowance for adults is not being replaced with PIP (see below). If you are looking after a child with a health condition or disability who is under the age of 16 years, they may be entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA).This can help towards the extra costs of bringing up a disabled child. To find out more about making a claim visit www.gov.uk
Housing Benefit and Bedroom Tax
Are you are on a low income and living in rented accommodation? Housing Benefit can help with your rent. If you receive housing benefit and live in a property which is judged to have more bedrooms than you need your housing benefit may be reduced. To find out more about this and how to claim visit www.gov.uk
Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
If you have a long term illness or disability – physical and/or mental – and you are aged from 16 to below your state pension age, you may be entitled to Personal Independence Payment (PIP). To find out more about making a claim visit www.gov.uk
Universal Credit is replacing Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), Housing Benefit, Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit. You receive one payment to cover all these different benefits if you’re entitled. You can apply for Universal Credit online. It is paid monthly and the total amount you receive may be different to what you receive now. To find out more about making a claim click on www.gov.uk
Other Financial Support
Council Tax Reduction (sometimes called Council Tax Support)
This scheme is run by local authorities to help those on a low income with their council tax bill.
There are a number of circumstances in which properties can be exempt from council tax, such as:
- if you have left the property empty and it is no longer your main residence because you are providing personal care to someone
- when the only person(s) living in the property are severely mentally impaired and no one else could be liable to pay the council tax
- if the property has been left empty by someone who is now resident in a hospital, a care home or a hostel where personal care is provided.
Find out more at:
Help with fuel costs
There are a number of ways you can get help with fuel costs:
- Winter Fuel Payment – if you have reached the qualifying age
- Cold Weather Payment – if you’re receiving certain benefits
- Warm Home Discount Scheme – if you meet certain qualifying conditions
Find out more at www.carersuk.org
Help with NHS health costs
If you are getting certain benefits you may qualify for help with NHS health costs. This includes free prescriptions, dental treatment, NHS eye tests and vouchers to help pay for glasses/contact lenses. You may also be reimbursement of fares to hospital for treatment for you or your child. You can also claim for the fares of a companion who needs to travel with you for medical reasons. If you are aged 60 and over, you can get free prescriptions and NHS eye tests regardless of your income.
Rights in the Workplace
There are three million working carers in the UK. Working carers have certain statutory rights but their employer may also give them additional contractual rights.
If you are struggling to juggle work and caring it is advisable to get advice. Consider your options carefully before making major decisions about your situation, e.g. leaving work. You may be able to access social care to help you in your caring role. Alternatively you may be able to talk to your employer about flexible working to make it easier for you.
Statutory Rights at Work
Your Right to Flexible Working
The law gives you the right to make one application a year for flexible working, if you are an employee with 26 weeks continuous employment. You have the right not to be treated less favourably or dismissed because you have made the request.
The request can cover changing hours, times or places of work. We recommend that you check your contract of employment because it may detail your entitlements. Flexible working can include:
- Working from home
- Job sharing
- Part-time working
- Term-time working
- Staggered/ compressed hours
The request to work flexibly must be made in writing, dated and include:
- an outline of the working pattern you would like
- an explanation of the effect, if any, you think the proposed change might have on your job and, how you think this could be dealt with. You should also think about how the proposed change could meet the needs of your employer
- the date on which you would like the proposed change to start
- a statement that it is a flexible working request
- whether you have made any previous requests, and if so the date of that request
You are not required to give reasons why you are making the request or provide proof that you are a carer. However, the more details you can give, the better your chances of success will be.
Your employer must give careful consideration to your request. They must then make a decision within three months of receiving your request, unless you agree to an extension. Your employer can refuse but they must have good business reasons for doing so. This should then be communicated to you in writing.
For more information click here: www.acas.org.uk
Time Off in Emergencies
All employees have the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency or an unforeseen matter involving a dependent. This includes your partner, children, parent, or someone living with you as part of your family. Others who rely on you for help may also qualify. The time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
Examples of emergency situations include:
- a problem with care arrangements
- the death or illness of a dependant
- having to make longer term arrangements for a dependant who is ill or injured (but not to provide long term care yourself)
- having to deal with an incident involving a child during school hours
If you have worked for the same employer for 12 months and you are responsible for a child aged under 18, you are entitled to 18 weeks parental leave per child, which must be taken by the child’s 18th birthday. This time off is unpaid unless your employer is willing to give paid time off as a contractual right.
Protection from Discrimination
The Equality Act 2010 will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities in employment. This is because you are counted as being ‘associated’ with someone who is protected by the law because of their age or disability.
Direct discrimination is where you are treated less favourably than someone else because you are a carer. This could include an employer:
- refusing to offer you a job because of your caring responsibilities
- not offering you a promotion because of your caring responsibilities