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Support for carers in Wales
From April 2016, your council has a legal duty to promote the wellbeing of those who need care and support, including carers.
The Social Services and Well-being Act gives people more control over the support they need with an assessment focussing in the individual. Carers now have the right to have their needs assessed along with the person they are caring for. It doesn’t matter what amount or type of care you give, your financial position or the level of support you need. Contact your local council’s social services department to ask them to assess your needs.
What is a carer’s assessment?
The assessment is a chance to discuss with your local council what support or services you may need to help you with your caring role.
The assessment will consider if your caring role impacts on your health or prevents you from achieving wellbeing. It will cover:
- your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
- your health – physical, mental and emotional
- your feelings and choices about caring
- work, study and training issues
- relationships, social activities and your goals
- planning for emergencies
After this assessment, based on national rules, your council will decide if you are eligible for support and if they have a legal obligation to meet them. They will also consider whether you could benefit from preventative services, information, advice and support available in the community.
Examples of the kind of help you might get as a carer are:
- help getting around – taxi fares, driving lessons, help towards running a car
- technology to support you - such as a laptop if you can’t get online at a local library
- practical support – help with housework or gardening
- promoting wellbeing – help with relieving stress or improving your health, such as gym membership
If you are eligible, the council has a legal obligation to meet your needs. Your needs and how they will be met will be set out in a support plan.
The person you care for – assessment of their needs
The person you care for is also entitled to have an assessment. It doesn’t matter what their level of need is or their financial resources. The assessment will look at their physical, mental and emotional needs. As their carer, you are entitled to be involved.
The person you look after will be asked what sort of life they would like, so a plan and support arrangements can be agreed.
It is important that you, as their carer, make clear what specific needs you are willing and able to meet so that these can be included in the care plan. This is because of how eligible needs are defined, and also so the local council can respond quickly if you become unable or unwilling to give the previous level of support.
I have been told I am eligible for support as a carer. Who will pay for it?
Your local council will give you a copy of your support plan. The council can provide the services themselves or arrange services through other organisations. Or you can ask to get direct payments to buy your own package of support. You can then arrange and pay for the help that best suits you.
Your local council may or may not charge you for services. They must carry out a financial assessment to decide if you have to make a contribution, and if so, how much.
Useful contacts in Wales
Find details of local councils on the Welsh Local Government Association website.
Carers UK: 0808 808 7777
Carers Trust Wales: 0292 009 0087
The Discretionary Assistance Fund offers grants in an emergency.