Personal budgets

7. Personal budgets for carers

Carers have a right to an assessment of their own needs by the local authority. This is called a carer's assessment. The aim is to support the carer to continue to care for longer. This right applies even if the carer lives separately from the person. It also applies if the person they care for refuses to have their own needs assessment. Local authorities have a duty to meet carers' eligible needs following a carer's assessment.

Once a carer has been assessed, they should be told the outcome of the assessment and a support plan should be agreed. If services are needed they can have them arranged or be offered a direct payment to meet their needs in a more flexible way.

Again, the payment must be used to meet the needs defined in their support plan. The intention is that they use the direct payment in a way that helps them to sustain their role as a carer and maintains their health and wellbeing. Direct payments to carers can pay for various types of support, including taxi fares, gym membership, driving lessons, counselling and adult learning.

The local authority has the power to charge carers for services that are provided directly by them or via a direct payment. There will be a financial assessment, but income from any work that the carer or their partner does is not taken into account in this assessment. Any replacement care (respite care) provided for the person cannot be included as part of the carer's personal budget amount. It must be paid for by the person who receives the care from their personal budget.