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Family and friend carers

Information for family and friend carers

Support when you need it in a way that works for you

A carer is a person who provides unpaid support to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour who is ill or disabled and could not manage without that help. A carer does not need to live in West Sussex for us to assess their needs, but the person they care for must.

Carer’s self-assessment

The carer’s self-assessment is designed to help people who are caring for someone to think about their personal circumstances (what is working well in their lives and what needs to change). It can be useful to fill in a self-assessment form if you are thinking about contacting us to ask about support.

You can find the link to the carer’s self-assessment form at westsussex.gov.uk or by reading the information on the Caring for other people page. Or you can contact our Adults’ CarePoint to ask for a paper copy. Please see our contact details on the 'Contact us' page. You do not have to fill in a self-assessment form before contacting us. It is simply there to help you think about your situation.

If you choose to send us a filled-in carer’s self-assessment form, we will pass it to Carers Support West Sussex, a specialist carer organisation who carry out most of the carer’s assessments on our behalf.

Carer’s assessment

We want to make sure that people who regularly provide unpaid care are supported and have their needs and wellbeing taken into account. If you are a carer you are entitled to have your needs assessed, even if the person you care for has not had their needs assessed or is not receiving any services from us. If you have filled in a carer’s self-assessment, what you have told us on the form will be included in your assessment.

Carers Support West Sussex carry out most of the carer’s assessments on our behalf. However, our social care workers carry out carer’s assessments in some circumstances, for example if your needs are more complex or if you specifically ask for a social care worker to carry out your assessment. You can contact Carers Support West Sussex to ask for an assessment or you can contact our Adults’ CarePoint. Please see the 'Useful contacts' page for contact details.

Your assessment can cover the following things:
• Your caring role and how it affects your life and wellbeing
• Your health – physical, mental and emotional issues
• Your feelings and your choices about your caring role
• Work, study, training and leisure
• Your relationships and social activities
• What goals or outcomes you’d like to achieve
• The suitability of your home (for example, whether you are able to meet the support needs of the person you care for in your home)
• Planning for emergencies

If the person you care for agrees, we will invite you to take part in any discussions we have with them about their social care needs and how this affects you. The aim is to carry out your carer’s assessment within 28 calendar days from the time you first contact us or Carers Support West Sussex.

Are you a young person under the age of 18 providing regular support to someone?

If yes, you can contact our Young Carer Service for information, advice and support. Please see the 'Useful contacts' page for their contact details.

Meeting carers’ needs

We use national guidelines called the ‘carer’s eligibility criteria’ when deciding whether a carer has eligible needs (needs which mean the carer is eligible to receive support from us to meet them). These are set out in the Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2015.

We will consider whether your needs are a result of you providing necessary care (for example, care that is needed because the health or emotional wellbeing of the person you care for is likely to deteriorate if you stopped providing the care and support), and this means:
• your physical or mental health is at risk of getting worse;
• you are unable to achieve specified outcomes (a member of staff can explain these to you); and
• there is, or is likely to be, a significant effect on your wellbeing.

Your needs are only eligible if you meet these conditions. We will look at what you have told us and consider what support is available to you through your own networks and through community services provided by carer organisations that we fund.

If your needs cannot be met in this way, we will work out how much money may be available to pay for support to meet your needs, or we may provide extra support to the person you care for if this would help reduce your needs.

If you are not eligible for council-funded social care support

Even if you are not eligible to receive funded support from us, you will still be entitled to a carer’s assessment and information and advice about services that are available, including some support services which are free of charge.

For a wide range of information and advice for carers, visit the West Sussex Connect to Support website at westsussexconnecttosupport.org. Also, Carers Support West Sussex provide a variety of services to carers and can tell you about support that is available across all areas of the county. Please see the 'Useful contacts' page for their contact details.

What happens if I move out of West Sussex?

You may decide to move out of West Sussex to live in a different area. If we have assessed your needs and found you are eligible for council-funded support, we will work with your new local authority to make sure that there is no interruption to your support when you move.

If you are a carer and you move out of West Sussex but the person you care for stays in the county, we will continue to provide support to you.

Last updated: 04 March 2024