Introduction to caring

Throughout nidirect's 'caring for someone' section, 'carer' means someone looking after a friend, relative or neighbour who needs support because of their sickness, age or disability.

What is a carer

A 'carer' does not mean a professional care-worker in a nursing home, for example - or someone employed by a person with disabilities. If you are a carer, you may also be entitled to help, support and financial help. 

Health and Social Care Trusts

The local Trust may be able to make things easier for you and the person you care for. They may offer help such as home help (like cleaning) or short-term breaks for you as a carer. To find out what services you could benefit from, some issues social services may discuss with you include the help:

  • needed for the person you care for
  • you currently give

This is called a carer's assessment.

To request a carer’s assessment you can contact the Carer Coordinator in your local Trust.  

Carer's Allowance

If you give care to someone for at least 35 hours a week, you might be eligible for Carer's Allowance. You can make a claim online or use a downloadable form. Disability and Carers Service processes all claims for Carer's Allowance.

Young carers

If you are under 18 and care for someone, it is important that you get help and support. You should not have the caring responsibilities that an adult could take on and there are people and services available to help you.

Caring for a child with disabilities

If you care for a child with disabilities, your needs will be considered in the family's needs assessment, through the social services department of your local Trust. You can contact the Trust directly, or you can ask your doctor (GP) to contact them on your behalf.

Your rights as a carer

As a carer, you have certain rights by law. 

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