About caring

Are you a carer?

A carer is anyone who cares for a family member or friend who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, cannot cope without their support. The care they provide is unpaid.

A carer could be a teenager looking after a parent dealing with a drug or alcohol problem, a middle-aged person caring for a partner with terminal illness, or a pensioner looking after a spouse with long term health conditions. Recognising that you have a caring role can help you better access information, support and advice.

Your role as a carer

Why do we call people ‘carers’ in health and social care?

As a first step it is important that you recognise that you are a carer. Even though you will see yourself as a wife, husband, son, daughter, mother or father, you are still caring for someone.

You may not be able to see what a health professional can. We are able to help you recognise that you have a caring role.

By recognising you have a caring role, it can open up the doors to information, support and advice that can help. Caring for someone can affect your own health and wellbeing so getting help early is so important. See our Support for carers page to find out more about where to get help local to you.

Your rights and entitlements

As a carer there are many entitlements that you may be eligible for, but not already accessing.

You may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if you, the person you care for and the type of care you provide meets certain criteria. You could get £76.75 a week if you care for someone at least 35 hours a week and they get certain benefits.

Find out more at www.gov.uk/carers-allowance or speak with your local carer organisation.

For further information on other benefits you and the person you care for are entitled to or for legal issues contact your local carer’s organisation.

Carers UK provides information on a wide range of benefits, here: www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support

Carer’s assessment

Your right to an assessment of your needs is called a carer’s assessment.

This is an informal discussion that focusses on you, your caring situation and your needs.

The assessment also looks at what help and support you may be entitled to so that you can better continue in your caring role

An assessment aims to help carers feel more supported, less isolated and more aware of the support that is available.

You can find out more information on the national NHS website.

Speak with your loved-one’s care coordinator for our mental health services, or contact your local carers’ organisation.

Non-urgent advice: Further information

Carer’s rights

The Government Legislation below strengthen the rights and recognition of carers in the social care system.

Learn more

Page last reviewed: 10 January, 2024