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Welfare benefits

Support for carers in Northern Ireland

If you provide ‘regular and substantial’ care for someone, you are entitled to a carer’s assessment. There is no definition of ‘regular and substantial care’. Ask the social services department of your Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) about getting assessed. 

The assessment will look at your ability and willingness to continue to provide care. The assessor will look at your individual needs and discuss them with you. The assessment will show which needs are most important, and the risks if you are not given help.

After your assessment, your HSCT will develop a care plan setting out the support and services you need. Trusts can provide services directly to you, or you may be able to choose those services yourself. Social services can provide a break from caring and other services.

Following a carer’s assessment, carers have received their own direct payments that have allowed them to access:

  • help getting around – driving lessons, help with taxi fares, repairs and insurance costs for a car, where transport was crucial to the caring role
  • technology – a mobile phone, a computer for a carer who could not leave the person he looked after to get online at a local library
  • practical support – help with housework or gardening
  • promoting wellbeing – leisure classes to help relieve stress, gym membership, massages
  • a short holiday for a carer to enable them to have time for themselves link to respite care box

I have been told I am eligible for support as a carer. Who will pay for it?

The Carers and Direct Payments Act allows for charges to be made for services to carers following a carer’s assessments. However, to date this is not common practice. If help is provided for the person you are looking after through a community care assessment, they can be charged separately for this help.

The person you care for – assessment of their needs

The person you care for can have a community care assessment. But if you are meeting all of their support needs and you are happy to continue to do so, the trust can decide not to provide additional support.

If the HSCT decides that the person you care for is eligible for more support, they can

  • provide services themselves or
  • provide services through another organisation or
  • give the person you care for money to choose and pay for their own services. This is called a direct payment or a personal budget.

Useful contacts in Northern Ireland

Up-to-date information about loans and grants, and details of local councils are available on the nidirect website 

Carers Northern Ireland: 028 9043 9843
Carers support services: 07826 930508

Next: Financial support >

Download our carer's benefits information (PDF, 298KB)

Last medically reviewed: September 2018. Due for review: December 2018

This information uses the best available medical evidence and was produced with the support of people living with lung conditions. Find out how we produce our information. If you’d like to see our references get in touch.