Support for carers in Scotland
Carers are entitled to have their support needs assessed if they provide ‘regular and substantial’ care for someone.
But no guidance is given as to what counts as ‘substantial’ or ‘regular’. Contact your local council’s social services department to ask for a carer’s assessment.
Councils are not legally obliged to provide services for carers, but can choose to do so. Types of support that you might be able to get include:
- help with gardening, housework and shopping
- activities such as exercise or art classes
- a few days away
- emotional support or counselling
I have been told I am eligible for support as a carer. Who will pay for it?
If you are offered support as a carer, you cannot be charged for it. Under the Social Care (Self Directed Support) Act 2013, all councils must offer self-directed support, which enables you to choose how you want your support arranged. Your local council must offer you four options:
Option 1 – direct payment. The council gives you money so you can choose and pay directly for the services you want.
Option 2 – individual service fund. The council allocates an amount of money to you, and uses it to pay for services on your behalf. You still choose what support you want.
Option 3 – arranged services. You can ask the council to select, arrange and pay for services for you. You can tell them what support you want during your carer’s assessment.
Option 4 – a combination of all three.
The person you care for – assessment of their needs
Your local council can offer the person you care for a community care assessment, sometimes called a single shared assessment (SSA). This is usually carried out by a social worker, and will consider what support the person needs to live independently, and what support it is reasonable for you to provide.
A decision on whether or not the person you care for is entitled to support is based on whether their health and wellbeing is at risk if they don’t get that support.
There are four levels of risk: low, moderate, substantial and critical. If the council decides to provide help or services for the person you care for, they will offer self-directed support.
Useful contacts in Scotland
The Scottish welfare fund offers grants to people facing exceptional pressures.
Carers Scotland: 0141 445 3070
Carers Trust Scotland: 0300 123 2008
The Scottish Government is considering a carers bill at present (November 2015). Call our helpline on 03000 030 555 for the latest information.