Carer's Rights


Caring responsibilities can become overwhelming from time to time even more so when the carer has been caring for many years, sometimes carers can feel they love the person so much they will be letting them down or sound as if they are complaining if they ask for a Carerís assessment. This is not the case, with the right support and help a carer can continue to care for their loved one without it getting to the situation were the carer can become burnt- out, tired or ill themselves.



What is a carerís assessment?


A Carerís assessment is an assessment of the support a carer may need to fulfil their caring role or to continue caring.


This will and should include what help you may need i.e.


v      Whether you wish to continue caring?

v      What Respite help you may need

v      information on benefits

v      Deciding if you wish to return to work and what support you may need to do so.

v      What affect your caring role has on your health or family life.

v      What support you may need now or in the future to continue your caring role. 



Who is entitled to a carerís assessment?

The law says you have a right to an assessment if you care for someone for 'a substantial amount of time on a regular basis'. 

The Carers and Direct Payment Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 gives a carer the right in law to an assessment, even if the person you care for does not want or receive help and services from social services or trust.


Who caries out a carers assessment?

You must write to your local social services department requesting a Carerís assessment under the Carers and Direct Payments Act Northern Ireland (2002). Tell them who you are caring for, what their disability is and what help you need.

Unfortunately not all social workers are aware that you have this right. Sometimes you may also be told that they have no services to offer you as a carer and that there would be no point in carrying out a carerís assessment. If this is their response write to them requesting a carers assessment and ask them to explain why they are refusing your assessment. Seek legal advice also as this is your legal right in law.

If the social worker carries out a carers assessment and then informs you that they have no services to offer you, ask the social worker to put this in writing to you and request that this unmet need be met the following year, Or You can request direct payments, which means you can receive payments from your local trust to pay for services you need to support you in your caring role.


Direct Payments


What are direct Payments?


Direct payments is money paid to you ďthe carerĒ by your local Trust so as you the carer can buy services or employ someone to provide assistance/support for you to continue caring.

You must have completed a Carerís assessment and been assed as needing support by a social worker from your local trust to receive direct payments.


Direct payments are not linked to any benefits or pensions and are not means tested and will not affect any benefit you receive.


 Direct payments gives carers greater flexibility as to who, when and were the support and help you need will be provided as you the carer becomeís the employer.


Some carers find it hard to get someone to employ but you can employ a relative who does not live in the same house as you.

You can also put adverts into your local day centers, special schools, hospitals etc.


Not all trusts understand direct payments or offer them and carers have no legal right to receive direct payments but they are widely available in the U.K. and some trusts are now looking to see a greater uptake of direct payments in the next few years. So be persistent with your local trust and ask for direct payments if you feel they can benefit you.


What can you use direct payments for?


Respite Ė you can employ someone to look after the person you care for while you go shopping, Have your hair done, Go to a wedding or family event

The list is endless. You can save up hours and use them for a weekend break if that is what you need.


The person you employ can take the person you care for out, Shopping, cinema, swimming, hospital appointments etc, while you have a bath or rest from your caring duties.