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Carers' national eligibility threshold

The Care Act 2014 sets out carers rights in law, giving them the same rights to support as the person they care for. The Act, introduces a national eligibility criteria for carers, which local authorities must use when deciding if a carers’ needs meet the new rules and therefore have eligible needs for support.

If the council decides that you are not eligible for care and support, we will still be able to offer information and advice through the Dudley Carers Network

How will the council decide if your needs as a carer are eligible for support?

A carer will meet the eligibility criteria if there is, or is likely to be a significant impact on their well being as a result of providing unpaid care to another adult. To decide whether a carer has eligible needs the local authority must answer the following 3 questions:

  • Are the carer’s needs a result of providing ‘necessary’ care for another person?

  • Does the caring role have an affect on the carers physical or mental health and/or are they unable to achieve one or more of the outcomes defined in the Care Act 2014?

  • Is there, or is there likely to be a significant impact on the carers wellbeing if they are unable to achieve any of the outcomes?

If, the answer to all three questions is yes, then the carer has eligible needs.

The council will only decide whether a carer has eligible needs once an assessment of the carers needs has been completed.

A flow chart of the eligibility threshold process is available at the end of this page.

The next section will look in detail at each of these three questions.

Are your needs a result of providing necessary care?

Your needs must be a result of providing necessary care to another adult. Necessary has been determined as:

‘Activities that the individual requiring support should be able to carry out, as part of normal daily life, but is unable to do so. However, necessary care includes care provided to support needs that are not eligible.’

The person you are caring for does not have to be eligible for needs for social care support, for you to have eligible needs.

The council may decide that the care you are providing is not necessary and that the person you are caring for can do the things you are helping them with themselves. We may also decide that your needs or problems are the result of something other than your caring role.

Is your caring role affecting your physical or mental health and/or your life outside of caring?

Your caring responsibilities must be affecting either:


• your physical or mental health, or is it likely to get worse, OR

• you are unable to achieve any one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Looking after any children you have caring responsibilities for. The council will consider whether you have caring responsibilities for a child which may be affected by your caring role for example: are you caring for a child who has additional support needs who requires your care?

  • Providing care to another person. The council will consider whether you have additional caring responsibilities for another person, for example: are you caring for your partner as well has having to care for an elderly parent or grandparent?

  • Maintain your home in an safe and proper state. The council will consider whether you are able to maintain your home and it is a safe environment, for example is it safe and does it have essential amenities such as water, electricity and gas?

  • Maintain your nutrition and eat properly. The council will consider whether you have time to do essential shopping and prepare meals for example: Do you have to support the person you care for during meal times but also have to prepare meals for your family at home?

  • Developing and maintain relationships with family or other close friends. The council will consider whether caring prevents you from maintaining key relationships with family and friends or from developing a new personal relationship, for example: Are you unable to visit close family because you have to constantly be available to provide care?

  • Take part in work, training, education or volunteering The council will consider whether caring is affecting your work commitments; your wish to return to work, attend training or volunteer. For example: As a result of the care you are providing are you considering stopping or reducing your hours at work to carry on in your caring role?

  • Make use of local community facilities or services The council should consider whether you have the opportunity to use local community services and facilities, for example the local leisure centre, library or church.

  • Take part in recreational activities. The council will consider whether you have leisure time to take part in leisure activities for example, are unable to have any free time to just do a hobby or read a book.

In considering whether you are able or not to achieve any of the above outcomes the Care Act states that the council must take into account any difficulties you may have. You will be considered unable to achieve the outcome if you

  • need assistance to achieve the outcome

  • can achieve the outcome without assistance but in doing so

    • You are likely to experience significant pain, distress or anxiety OR

    • It endangers or is likely to endanger your health or safety and/or the health and safety of any adults or children you may be caring for.

    • Is, there or is there likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing?

If it is decided that you are not able achieve any of the identified outcomes, the council will consider whether, there is, or there is likely to be a significant impact on your wellbeing.

What does the term wellbeing mean?

Wellbeing is defined in the Care Act. The definition is broad and includes: social and economic wellbeing; personal dignity; control over your daily life; participation in work, education or social activities; relationships with other people; having suitable accommodation and protection from abuse and neglect.

In making a judgement on the impact on your wellbeing, the council will take into account:

  • You are best placed to judge your wellbeing: what is a significant impact on one carers wellbeing may not have the same effect on another carer.

  • It understands what is important to you, in terms of wishes, feelings and beliefs.

  • Decisions should be based on your circumstances, not assumptions about you.

  • You should be able to participate as fully as possible in decision making.

  • Your needs as a carer need to be balanced against the needs of the cared for.

  • The need to protect people from abuse and neglect

If your level of need varies the council must take this into consideration, so a full picture of you level of need is developed. This variation may be due to the condition of the person you care for changes from day to day or week to week; or because you have other responsibilities that can affect you from time to time.

What help might be available following a decision about your needs?

All carers, including carers who are considered as not having eligible needs are entitled to receive information and advice on the following areas:

  • details of the needs that have been identified whether they are eligible or not

  • how to access care and support

  • the care providers and services they can choose from in their locality

  • how to obtain financial advice

  • how to raise concerns about safeguarding issues. For example what to do if they are worried a vulnerable person is at risk of harm or neglect

  • how to access preventative services that could delay or prevent your needs from increasing.

The information provided should be relevant to your circumstances and the local area in which you live and may include information about local carers support groups.

If the council decides that you are not eligible for care and support, we will still be able to offer information and advice through the Dudley Carers Network.

If the council decides that your needs are eligible for support we must consider how your needs could be met. Dudley council has taken the decisions not to charge carers for any direct support it may provide (carers may need to pay for any services / support provided by an external organisation for example a carers support group).

Agreeing a support plan with you

The council will discuss with you what eligible needs you would like us to meet and then agree a support plan with you.

:: more details

Want more information?

You can contact the Carers Network on 01384 818723 to discuss your needs and arrange a carers needs assessment.