Carer personal budgets

Carer personal budgets

A Carer Personal Budget (previously known as a carers break award) is an amount of money awarded to you, to give you a break from your caring role or to buy something that makes your life easier. It is not means tested and if your application is successful, you have a wide choice about how the money is spent.

The Care Act 2014 introduced a number of changes for carers. These changes include the right for carers to have an assessment of their own support needs, the introduction of a new carer eligibility criteria and the potential for a carer to be allocated a 'personal budget' in their own right, where they meet the new eligibility criteria.

Criteria for applying for a carer personal budget:

  • You are providing necessary care for an adult with care and support needs, who lives in a community setting (not in a registered care home) in Derbyshire
  • You have accepted and had a carers assessment (or are willing to have one before you are awarded a carer personal budget)
  • You are an unpaid carer aged 18 or over.

How the money can be used

The funding must be used to support you and meet the needs identified in your carers assessment. Examples of things carer personal budgets have been used for include:

  • funding towards the cost of a holiday or day out
  • transport for a break away or visiting family
  • funding for a hobby, for example, fishing, golf, cooking, exercise equipment
  • college courses or training
  • home improvements, gardening, domestic help
  • equipment to help caring, for example, washing machine, dishwasher
  • funding to support a return to work.

There are some things the personal budget cannot be used for and these include items for the cared-for person and goods or services that have already been purchased.

Carer Personal Budgets in Derbyshire from April 2017

From April 2017, there will be a banded approach in Derbyshire to calculate the value of a carer personal budget. This will make the amounts issued fairer, more transparent and benefit those carers with the greatest need. The band you are awarded will be linked to the extent that your caring role is impacting on you as a carer.

The worker conducting your assessment will determine the band to be awarded to you based on your needs.

The banded amounts will start at £100.00, £175.00 and £300.00 and if the top band does not meet your needs, then a higher amount may be awarded based on a detailed assessment. Further information about the banding and the criteria for each band is available in the further information section below.

Changes to eligibility

If you have previously received a carer personal budget issued through Derbyshire Carers Association, it is important to note changes in the eligibility criteria for carers introduced by the Care Act in April 2015 and how these changes have affected decisions relating to carer personal budgets.

What does eligible  needs mean?

A carer assessment identifies a carer's needs and sees which of those needs are not being met.  The carer assessment also determines which of these unmet needs may be eligible for funded support by means of a carer personal budget. The eligibility criteria for carers is set by the government and is called the National Eligibility Framework. This has been put in place to make sure everyone is treated in a consistent way across the country.

How to get a carer personal budget

To find out if you are eligible for a carer personal budget you will need to contact Derbyshire Carers Association on tel: 01773 833833 to arrange a carer assessment or re-assessment to consider what your needs are.

You will also need to complete a personal budget application form to accompany your carers assessment.

All new requests for a carer personal budget will be considered against the Care Act 2014 carer eligibility criteria.

If you have experienced a significant change in your caring role since your last carer personal budget, you may still be eligible under the new eligibility criteria.

How you will receive the carer personal budget

Carer personal budgets are usually issued as one off payments by cheque from Derbyshire Carers Association, who administer the budgets on behalf of Derbyshire County Council Adult Care and all of the Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups. 

Carers who are assessed as having a level of need that is greater than the highest band will receive payment as a Direct Payment. Please see below for further information.

If you are successful in receiving a carer personal budget, you may be contacted to provide feedback on whether what you have purchased has made a difference to your health and wellbeing.

If you are a parent carer

If you care for someone under 18, the carer personal budget is no longer available. This is because of a change in the law and the new criteria set by the Government to make these decisions, which is called the National Eligibility Framework. The new eligibility criteria only apply to carers who look after an adult.

However, you may be able to get support from Derbyshire Children's Services. You can find out about support available for disabled children, young people and their families on the Derbyshire Local Offer website. The website has information about the support provided to parent carers including respite and short breaks as well as schools, colleges, support groups, health services, childcare, groups and activities.

If you want to talk about support for you as a parent carer please contact Call Derbyshire tel: 01629 533190. They'll put you in touch with your local multi-agency team to see what other support options might be available to you.

Carer personal budgets from April 2017 - further information

Each band refers to a level of 'need'. 

Lower need - £100

  • You need support to find paid work, voluntary work or an education course
  • You need support to take part in social activities
  • Other people provide occasional but regular support to the person you care for.

Middle need - £175 band

  • You have to change jobs or be flexible with your work or education because of your caring role
  • Your relationship with the person you care for may break down
  • You are the only carer and have very limited social support.

High need - £300 band

  • You may have lost/resigned from your job or had to stop going to college/ university because of caring
  • Your relationship with the person you care for is very likely to or has broken down
  • Your health and wellbeing is severely affected through your caring duties
  • You are the only carer and are socially isolated with no other social support
  • The adult you care for will not accept care from another source or will only accept occasional support from other people.

After your assessment, if your needs can be met another way, then you may not receive a carer personal budget.

Carer personal budgets will last for 12 months before another application can be made. Any new award will be subject to a review or, if necessary a re-assessment.

Carer personal budgets below £300 will not be subject to monitoring and audit.

Carer personal budgets above £300 (Direct Payments)

When a carer personal budget of above £300.00 is required, the level will be determined by a more detailed assessment and agreed with Derbyshire Adult Care.

Carer personal budgets above £300 may be issued as a Direct Payment and subject to one of two levels of monitoring and audit by Adult Care. For an amount between £300 and £1040, a simple declaration and low level audit will apply. For an amount beyond £1040 p.a. full Direct Payments regulations will apply (please see the Direct Payments Information Pack for details).

Direct payments are given to meet your needs as a carer and are not counted as ‘income’, and so would not affect any of your benefits.

However, if the person you are looking after gets a Direct Payment to help meet their care and support needs and uses it to pay you to support them, then this would count as your ‘earnings’ and might affect any benefits you get.

Will everybody who is eligible for support get a carer personal budget?

Derbyshire County Council value carers and have been providing support in many ways, so the carers personal budget is one of a range of support options. Access to good quality information, advice and signposting is crucial to carers and this is at the forefront of the Council's approach.

All carers will receive general advice and information about caring issues from both Adult Care and Derbyshire Carers Association which could include things such as:

  • Specialist advice
  • Support groups
  • Specific support such as training or sitting services – this can be arranged by the person supporting you or you can make your own arrangements using your personal budget

The carer personal budget is not a right for all carers. Carer support can take many forms and does not automatically translate into funded services or a carer personal budget. In some situations, the provision of formal care and support to the cared for person will meet the carer’s eligible needs.

This information was last updated on 08/04/2019

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