Carers’ Rights Day is an annual campaign for unpaid carers and takes place on Thursday 25th November 2021.
Every carer has rights and there is help and support available. The day helps to raise awareness of carers and the rights that they are entitled to.
There are an estimated 69,000 unpaid carers in East Sussex, with around 34,000 additional carers as a result of the pandemic. Many carers aren’t aware of their rights or what support they’re entitled to. The Care Act 2014 provides carers with certain rights. Whether they’re a new carer or have been caring for someone for a while, it’s important carers understand their rights and are able to access the support that’s available when they need it.
A carer could be looking after a family member, partner, friend or neighbour who can’t manage without their help. Carers can approach adult social care for East Sussex and ask for a Carer’s Assessment, even if the person they care for does not meet the eligibility criteria or has refused an assessment of their own needs. Where a carer is sharing caring responsibilities with another person, including a child under 18, a carer can each have a Carer’s Assessment.
If a carer has eligible support needs, adult social care will work with you to look at support options available to include in your Carer’s Support Plan. The Carer’s Review will involve a reassessment of a carer’s needs, which may lead to a revised support plan. If there are no change in needs, it may focus on reviewing how well the existing support is meeting known (and unchanged) needs and outcomes. Most people have a review once a year, but this may vary depending on your needs. This is called a ‘scheduled review’.
If your needs or the person you care for’s needs change, you can contact adult social care at any time to request an unscheduled review.
Flexible working and taking time off in emergencies
If a carer is working, unpaid carers have the right to request flexible working, time off in emergencies and parental leave.
The Employment Rights Act 1996 gives all employees the right to take a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work in order to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. It’s at the discretion of the employer whether or not the time off is paid or unpaid. If a carer is an employee with 26 weeks’ continuous employment at the time, they can have the right to request flexible working. They also have the right not to be discriminated against or dismissed because they have made the request.
It’s important to know what benefits a carer and the person they care for are entitled to, including Carer’s Allowance. It might make a difference to pension entitlements in the future, or bring in extra money to help pay for care. It’s important to seek professional benefit advice before claiming Carer’s Allowance or other benefits. This is because claiming Carer’s Allowance may affect existing benefit allowances and what can be claimed by you and the person you care for.
Adult carers are a priority group and can receive their booster Covid-19 vaccination. In Sussex, all parent carers are included in this priority group.
You can find out more about the local vaccination programme here: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme – Sussex Health & Care Partnership (sussexhealthandcare.uk)
A carer is also entitled to a free flu jab each year if they receive a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if they get sick.
Care for the Carers is the Carers Centre for East Sussex, and there is further information about carers rights available on their website.
They can help carers understand their rights and help carers to access the health and social care systems they need. Get in touch on 01323 738390, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 07860 077300.