Eligibility criteria for carers with support needs under the Care Act 2014
Carers can be eligible for support in their own right. The threshold is based on the impact their caring role has on their wellbeing.
When determining carer eligibility, local authorities must consider the following three conditions.
The carer's needs for support arise because they are providing necessary care to an adult.
Carers can be eligible for support whether or not the adult for whom they care has eligible needs.
The carer must also be providing 'necessary' care (i.e. activities that the individual requiring support should be able to carry out as part of normal daily life but is unable to do so). If the carer is providing care and support for needs that the adult is capable of meeting themselves, the carer may not be providing 'necessary' care and support. However, necessary care includes care provided to support needs that are not eligible.
As a result of their caring responsibilities, the carer's physical or mental health is either deteriorating or is at risk of doing so or the carer is unable to achieve any of the outcomes as specified in the regulations and as summarised in the section Eligibility outcomes for carers with support needs'.
Local authorities must also be aware that 'being unable' to achieve an outcome includes circumstances where the carer:
- is unable to achieve the outcome without assistance. This includes where the carer would be unable to achieve an outcome even if assistance were provided. For example, a carer might be unable to fulfil their parental responsibilities unless they receive support in their caring role.
- is able to achieve the outcome without assistance, but doing so causes or is likely to cause significant pain, distress or anxiety. For example, a carer might be able to care for the adult and undertake full-time employment, but if doing both causes the carer significant distress, the carer should not be considered able to engage in employment.
- is able to achieve the outcome without assistance but doing so is likely to endanger the health or safety of themselves or any adults or children for whom they provide care. For example, a carer might be able to provide care for their family and deliver necessary care for the adult with care and support needs, but, where this endangers the adult – for example, because the adult receiving care would have to be left alone while other responsibilities are met – the carer should not be considered able to meet the outcome of caring for their family.
Local authorities must consider whether the carer is unable to achieve the whole range of outcomes in the eligibility criteria when making the eligibility determination.
There is no hierarchy to the eligibility outcomes – all are equally important.
As a consequence of being unable to achieve these outcomes, there is, or there is likely to be, a significant impact on the carer’s wellbeing, determining whether:
- the carer's needs impact on at least one of the areas of wellbeing in a significant way or
- the cumulative effect of the impact on a number of the areas of wellbeing means that they have a significant impact on the carer’s overall wellbeing.
The term ‘significant’ must be understood to have its everyday meaning, as it is not defined by the Regulations, but see the section ‘What does significant impact mean?’ in this guide for further clarity.