The Care Act received Royal Assent on 14 May 2014. This means the Care Act is now law. This factsheet has been produced to accompany Part 1 of the Act and will come into force on 1 April 2015. For the first time, carers will be recognised in the law in the same way as those they care for. This factsheet describes how the Care Act sets out carers’ legal rights to assessments and support.
The Act gives local authorities a responsibility to assess a carer’s needs for support, where the carer appears to have such needs. This replaces the existing law, which says that the carer must be providing “a substantial amount of care on a regular basis” in order to qualify for an assessment. This will mean more carers are able to have an assessment, comparable to the right of the people they care for. The local authority will assess whether the carer has needs and what those needs may be. This assessment will consider the impact of caring on the carer. It will also consider the things that a carer wants to achieve in their own day-to-day life. It must also consider other important issues, such as whether the carer is able or willing to carry on caring, whether they work or want to work, and whether they want to study or do more socially. If both the carer and the person they care for agree, a combined assessment of both their needs can be undertaken.