Your rights as a carer
As a carer you have specific legal rights and entitlements. Knowing your rights can help you to get the support that you need.
These rights include:
- the right to have your needs assessed by your local authority,
- the right to receive direct payments so that you can choose what services to have, and
- rights in the workplace.
Community Care Assessment (NHS and Community Care 1990)
This describes the process when a social worker or other health or social care professional looks at the needs of somebody with an illness or disability and assesses what community care services are required to meet those needs (for instance a day centre place or care in the home). Many now use a "single assessment process" which is an assessment for the disabled person and their carers, carried out by all the health and social care professionals involved.
The Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995
This act was the first piece of legislation to recognise fully the crucial role played by carers. The Act contains two main elements for carers:
- A carer’s right to ask for an assessment of their ability to care
- Local authorities’ duty to take into account the results of this assessment when looking at what support to provide to the person cared for (the service user).
The Act covers three groups of carers:
- Adults (people aged 18 or over) who care for other adults
- Adults who care for ill or disabled children (under the age of 18)
- Young carers under the age of 18 who care for a relative.
Carers and Disabled Children's Act 2000
This Act gives carers the right to ask for an assessment of their own needs to help them to continue to care, irrespective of whether the person they are caring for has had or is having their own needs assessed. The assessment is available to any carer who provides or is intending to provide regular and substantial care (this is not clearly defined). The Carers and Disabled Act 2000 also allows, for the first time, Social Service Departments to provide services directly to carers, although whether or not you receive a service is up to the Social Services department.
Carers Equal Opportunities Act 2004
Firstly this act places a duty on social services departments to inform carers of their right to an assessment. Secondly, when the assessment is carried out the purpose of it is not only to help the carer to continue to care, but should also include a discussion on their/your wish to start paid work or to continue to work, their/your wish for further education and their/your wish to engage in leisure pursuits. Thirdly carers and their needs have previously only been a duty for social service departments, but under this Act social service departments can ask other public bodies including local health organisations to provide services to carers; a request, which these bodies have to consider and make a reply.
The Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010
The Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 places a duty on a relevant authority or two or more relevant authorities to prepare and publish an Information and Consultation Strategy setting out how they will work together to provide appropriate information and advice to carers.
In partnership with the 5 local authorities in Gwent, the Aneurin Bevan Health Board published its 3 year Information and Consultation Strategy in 2012. The strategy outlines how it will train staff to identify and signpost carers to relevant support agencies. The strategy also ensures that carers are consulted with and receive training relating to their caring role.
Equality Act 2010
The Equality Act is aimed at stopping discrimination and helping to encourage equality. If you are looking after someone who is elderly or disabled, the law will protect you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. This is because you are associated with someone who is protected by law because of their age or disability. You are already protected by the law if it happens at work, but the new law will also protect you when:
- shopping for goods
- when you ask for services
- when you get services
- when you use facilities like public transport.
For example: Ms Battle applies for a job which involves a lot of travelling. She has the best skills and experience but the company knows that Ms Battle cares for her son who is disabled. The company makes an assumption that she cannot manage because she has a disabled son and so it doesn’t offer her the job. This is direct discrimination because Ms Battle is associated with a disabled person. It’s against the law to refuse to offer her the job for that reason.
The Breaks for Carers of Disabled Children (Wales) Regulations 2012
These regulations require local authorities in Wales to assist the person caring for the disabled child to continue to care, by giving them breaks from caring; building on the general duties under the Children Act 1989 and the Carers and Disabled Children Act 2000 in respect of disabled children and informal carers.
Torfaen Council has produced its first Short Breaks Service Statement. This statement applies to all disabled children and young people aged between 0-18 who live in Torfaen and their parents and carers. It is work in progress and will be continually reviewed by disabled children, young people and their families.
Last Modified: 05/12/2018
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