Looking after someone? Know your rights

Most of us will provide unpaid care for someone who is older, disabled or seriously ill at some point in our lives. Taking place on Thursday 26 November, Carers Rights Day brings together organisations from across the UK to reach out to carers with information, advice and support.

This year’s theme is Know Your Rights. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every aspect of caring, affecting carers’ access to support and services, and their physical and mental health. Many are caring for the first time, while those who’ve been caring for a while are facing greater challenges and pressures than ever before. It’s never been more important for carers to be informed and know their rights

To help you know what you are entitled to, you can read the latest Looking after someone guide, which gives carers the full picture of the practical and financial support available to them every year. The latest 2020-21 guide can be ordered from shopcarersuk.org. An electronic version of the guide can be found at carersuk.org/LAS

Here is a taster, with three important steps you can take to find out what you are entitled to:

  1. Get a benefits check

Carer’s Allowance is known as the main benefit for carers. But not everyone is eligible to claim it, so it’s a good idea to arrange a benefits check to see what financial support you may be entitled to. You can also use the Turn2us benefits calculator on our website: carersuk.org/benefits-calculator

For information about what financial support is available, visit carersuk.org, email advice@carersuk.org, visit the Turn2us website (turn2us.org.uk) or contact your local Citizens Advice.

  1. Find out about practical support

You may need practical support to help you care, like short breaks, equipment to help make caring easier or information about local groups that can help.

All carers are entitled to a carer’s assessment from their local council (or trust in Northern Ireland) which could lead to you receiving extra support from social care services to help with caring. The assessment will look at how caring affects your life, including your physical, mental and emotional needs, and whether you are able or willing to carry on caring.

Contact your local council/trust social services department for a carer’s assessment or visit carersuk.org/assessment for more information.

  1. Connect with other carers

Caring can be isolating. When we’re looking after someone, it’s not always easy to find people who really know what caring is like and are able to give us help and understanding. There are carer support groups across the UK that can help you meet other carers, as well as access local advice and support. Carers UK’s website has a directory of local services at carersuk.org/localsupport

Many carers also find online forums a huge source of support – a place where you can share what’s on your mind, anytime of the day or night, with other carers who understand what you are going through. Find out more about the Carers UK Forum at carersuk.org/help-and-advice/get-support/carersuk-forum

For more information on Carers Rights Day, visit carersuk.org/carersrightsday