You need to know your rights wherever you are in your caring journey: whether you are in the workplace, in a healthcare setting, when interacting with professionals or at home.
We want to empower you with information and support, so you can feel confident asking for what you need. We also want you to know how to challenge things when your rights are not being met.
Helping you to continue caring and look after your own wellbeing
The Care Act gives you rights as a carer so that you can get the support you need to help you continue caring and look after your own wellbeing. You have the right to:
- Have your views taken into consideration by health and social care services when supporting or treating the person you care for;
- Have an assessment of your own needs as a carer (either jointly with the person you care for or separately);
- Specific advice and information for carers that you can understand;
- Have your say if you are no longer prepared to care, or are not prepared to do an element of caring;
- Be helped to develop a carer’s support plan;
- A personal budget to meet any ‘eligible needs’;
- A choice as to how your personal budget is managed.
To discuss your caring situation and what support is available to you call us now on 0800 368 8349 to arrange a chat with one of our friendly staff.
You can also find lots of useful advice on the Information Hub on our website – www.carersupportdorset.co.uk/information-hub
Help from your employer
You don’t have to tell your employer about your caring responsibilities, but if you’re an employee, your employer must offer you certain legal rights. These include:
- The right to ask your employer for flexible working if you’ve worked there longer than six months and haven’t made the same request in the last 12 months;
- The right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off in the case of an emergency involving a dependent. This is sometimes known as Carers Leave and is unpaid unless your contract states otherwise;
- 18 weeks’ unpaid parental leave if you are looking after a child under 18.
Your employer isn’t obliged to offer you more than your legal rights, but some workplaces have policies that might give you more support or time off, for example through applying for a career break. Check with your employer or HR department to find out more.
ACAS website has some useful advice on workplace rights – www.acas.org.uk/advice
Citizens Advice also has advice on:
- Flexible working – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/flexible-working/applying-for-flexible-working
- Taking time off in emergencies – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/time-off-work/time-off-work-overview
Protection from discrimination
You’re protected from discrimination because of your caring responsibilities. For example, you can’t be refused a promotion at work because of your caring responsibilities.
If you think you’ve been treated unfairly because you’re a carer, Citizens Advice has some useful advice on their website – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination
Help with money
You may be able to get help to increase your income if your caring duties are affecting your finances. You can find out more on the Citizen’s Advice website about what financial support you may have access to.
Depending on your income, assets and living arrangements, you might be able to:
- Apply for Carer’s Allowance – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/carers-allowance
- Apply for other benefits – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits
- Get help with paying for prescriptions and other healthcare costs from the NHS low income scheme – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/get-advice-about-health-services/#helpwithhealthcostsifyouareonalowincome
- Cut down your household costs, including:
- Gas and electricity bills – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/energy/energy-supply/get-help-paying-your-bills/grants-and-benefits-to-help-you-pay-your-energy-bills
- A free or discounted TV licence from TV Licensing – www.tvlicensing.co.uk/check-if-you-need-one/topics/tv-licence-types-and-costs-top2
- Council tax discounts – www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/council-tax/check-if-you-can-pay-less-council-tax
- Have your contributions towards your state pension covered by the government if you’ve given up or cut down paid work to care for someone? Carers UK has advice to help you protect your pension – www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/financial-support/carers-allowance/carer-s-allowance-your-state-pension-plus-other-benefits
Citizens Advice and the MoneyHelper have advice for carers.
Help for the person you’re caring for
Making sure the person you’re caring for gets all the social care and support they’re entitled to could mean your role as a carer is made easier. They’re entitled to get a care needs assessment from the council. Depending on the person’s situation they may also be able to:
- Claim benefits;
- Make arrangements for you to look after their affairs, for example through power of attorney;
- Complain about the social care and support services they’ve received.
How to raise concerns if your rights aren’t being met
- Share your views on support for carers in Dorset with us;
- Share your views on your health and social care experiences on the healthwatch website – www.healthwatchdorset.co.uk
- See how to make a complaint about the NHS on their website – www.nhs.uk/contact-us/how-to-complain-to-the-nhs
- See how to make a complaint about adult social services on their website – www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/your-council/complaints-compliments-and-comments/how-to-complain-about-social-care-services
- Use the NHS Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to access confidential support and advice – www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/hospitals/what-is-pals-patient-advice-and-liaison-service
Additional support for carers
There are also some settings where you might be able to expect some additional support as a carer.
In a hospital setting
Before the person you are caring for leaves hospital they should have a discharge assessment. This is to identify if they need any support once they are discharged. This could take the form of:
- Any intermediate or reablement care;
- NHS continuing healthcare or NHS funded nursing care;
- Other NHS services and/or community care services from the local authority.
You should also be offered a carers assessment to identify if you need any support once the person you are looking after is discharged. If you would like more information about this please contact us on 0800 368 8349.
Carers UK have some useful guidance on coming out of hospital – www.carersuk.org/help-and-advice/practical-support/coming-out-of-hospital
There is also information on the NHS website – www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/care-after-a-hospital-stay
In an educational setting
Schools and colleges don’t have any legal requirements to support young carers or young adult carers however many do.
Support for young carers in school
Many of the schools in Dorset will offer young carers:
- A flexible mobile phone policy/assist you to call home during the day;
- Ways to complete homework during school time;
- Clubs or groups at breakfast, lunchtime or afternoons on a regular basis so you can relax and meet others;
- Access to free after school clubs (Most young carers are likely to be eligible for Pupil premium);
- Access to food at school in case you don’t have time for breakfast;
- Access to mental health/counselling.
Support for carers in further education
Juggling a caring role with studying can be challenging. To help you with this many universities and colleges have put in measures to support students with caring responsibilities:
- Academic help –flexible deadlines, help managing your workload, priority access to academic or job opportunities;
- Financial help – some courses will offer bursaries and other financial support to student carers;
- Health and wellbeing support – most campuses’ will offer student support services. Some might also offer induction days to help you settle in and give you time to discuss your support needs;
- Carer Passport – some universities run the Carer Passport scheme. This can help connect up departments and make sure you get the support you need – www.carerpassport.uk