As a carer it can be easy to let your own health slip down on your list of priorities. Today (30 November 2018) is Carers Rights Day, an opportunity to learn what you are entitled to as a carer.
Carers Rights Day brings carers in local communities together and teaches them about what help and support they are entitled to. As a carer your number one priority is often the person you are caring for, but looking after yourself is just as important.
Knowing your rights as a carer is an important step towards giving the best care possible.
While the person you care for is entitled to an assessment from social services, you are too. A carer’s assessment will establish what you require and what support will improve your caring role.
Anyone who cares for someone else for a substantial amount of time is entitled to this assessment.
During the assessment you will be asked what care you provide and what affect this is having on your life. This can include any negative effect on sleep, work, nutrition, social life and the goals you would like to achieve in your own personal life.
The assessor will then let you know of any services that could help you in your caring role. They will also be able to advise you on what benefits you are entitled to.
To set up a carer’s assessment speak to the social services department at your local council.
If you have had a carer’s assessment to establish your needs as a carer you might be entitled to receive direct payments. Direct payments are made by social services directly to your bank account and can be used to pay for services that will support you in your caring role.
This could include practical support like driving lessons or support to help maintain your wellbeing like a holiday. The amount of direct payment you receive will depend on what services are deemed necessary to support you as a carer.
Direct payments in Scotland are referred to as self-directed support.
For more information on direct payments and how to apply speak to your local social services department.
Rights at work
It can be difficult to juggle work and your caring responsibilities, but as a carer you have rights when it comes to employment. It is important to talk to your employer first and foremost so that they are aware of your caring situation.
You are entitled to take reasonable time off to deal with unexpected problems or emergencies with people who depend on you. This is often referred to as dependant leave. While you are entitled to time off, this time does not have to be paid.
If your caring responsibilities increase you may be able to work during flexible hours. Most people who have been working for their employer for at least 26 weeks have this as a statutory right, but if you don’t it is worth asking your employer if it is an option.
Flexible working could include working part time, on different days, working from home or other situations.
Advice on flexible working as a carer is available here.
Around the country events are being held for Carers Rights Day. For more information on Carers Rights Day and what you are entitled to click here.