If you regularly support an adult, or care for someone with daily tasks, this can be a family member or a friend, you are entitled to free information, advice, support and a Carers Assessment under the Care Act 2014.

Carers enable others to get the most out of life, they put others before themselves. However, it is important that when you are caring for someone that you look after yourself too. A Carer's Assessment aims to get you the support you need and comes with a range of benefits.

Whether you are new to caring, or if you've been a carer for some time, Carer Support Dorset is your first stop for free independent information, advice, or support. 

Registering with Carer Support Dorset

If you want help and support, you need to register with Carer Support Dorset. 

Carer Support Dorset is the listening organisation that can connect you with all the services in Dorset Council, and a community to support you as a carer.

Register as a carer with Carer Support Dorset

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All the services are free and will be tailored to your needs. Find out how they can help you, and the range of services they provide including:

  • help understanding your rights as a carer
  • help to get a Carer's Assessment from the council and explain how it will benefit you
  • a Carer's Card - helping you receive various discounts across the county and can be used as identification
  • support to give you a break from caring responsibilities
  • advice for hospital admittance and discharge – you can apply for a Carer Passport for use at hospitals which can help with discounts for parking and more
  • access to local carers’ groups - providing an opportunity to compare notes and learn from the experiences of other carers 
  • a range of support for your emotional wellbeing, including a free counselling service
  • funding and funded services from the council
  • free newsletters with news events, and services available
  • support and advice for you as your caring role comes to an end, including the loss of the person you care for

There are even more benefits available not listed, which will be available when you register.

Online self-help tools

Bridgit is an online platform which you can access 24/7.  It provides advice, guidance, and information about your caring role.  It can also connect you to key services to support and inform you about local events taking place in your community.

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Bridgit will also provide access to the first part of a Carers Assessment online. Submitting your information to start the process which is then completed by an Adult Social Care Practitioner in person or over the phone.  We would recommend working through the self-help tools before starting an assessment

Check your eligibility and start your own Carers Assessment

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Further support for carers

Carers Strategy 2023 -28

You can find out more about what we are doing for carers now and in the future in our new strategy 'Commissioning for A Better Life for Carers in Dorset 2023 to 2028'

Caring for someone living with a mental health illness

Rethink Dorset Carers Service can offer specialist support to you if you are caring for someone living with a mental health illness.

We would still encourage you contact Carers support Dorset to access the full range of support available.

Rethink are able to help you by providing Information, education, advice and signposting, and offer:

  • help understanding your rights
  • breakaway respite funding
  • 1:1 support
  • peer led support groups
  • community activities including walking groups
  • training sessions
  • help to navigate the mental health services
  • help to share your views and be heard

You can contact Rethink, do a self-referral and find out more on their website.

Find out if you can get financial help

Dorset Citizens Advice can help you understand what you are entitled to and can help you apply for financial support.

Upfront is a simple tool by Carers UK to support you to navigate the benefits and entitlements system. Fill in your details, spend a couple of minutes answering questions and you will be guided to the information you need.

Carer's Allowance

You can check if you are eligible for Carer’s Allowance, which entitles carers to £76.75 a week (that's £3,991 a year), and can be backdated up to 3 months.

Carer’s Allowance is paid to people who spend at least 35 hours a week looking after someone else, and they claim certain benefits.

You do not have to live with the person you care for or be related to them. If someone else is looking after the same person as you, only one of you can claim Carer’s Allowance.

Carer’s Allowance is not means-tested, which means that what you get is not based on your income or savings, nor does it depend on your National Insurance contributions.

There is a cap on how much you can earn from work and still be eligible.

You may have to pay tax on Carer’s Allowance if your combined income is over the Personal Allowance. To find out more:

Carer's Credit (National Insurance credits)

If you are under pensionable age, you may receive National Insurance credits towards your pension each week.

The amount paid is a lump sum of £245.70 which you get twice a year if you are eligible for and claim Carer’s Allowance.

Find out more about Carer's Credit

Register with your GP as a carer

We recommend you tell your GP you are a carer so they can offer you advice and support. They can also give you longer appointments where possible, a free flu jab, and an annual review.

Your GP practice is likely to have a carers lead. They can provide:

  • information on any medical conditions and treatments for the person you care for - to help you feel more confident caring
  • special NHS services such as patient transport to hospital appointments and continence services
  • advice on other services and welfare benefits
  • home visits to you or the person you care for, if it is difficult to attend the surgery
  • appointments for both you and the person you care at the same time, so you don't have to make so many trips
  • repeat prescriptions sent to your local pharmacy, to save you picking them up

Your GP will also be aware that you care for somebody should you ever need treatment yourself.

Contact your GP for further information.

Your health and wellbeing

It is important to look after yourself as well as the person you are caring for.

Carer support groups are available across Dorset. You may find that talking to others who have been through similar experiences useful, it also a great way of meeting new people. Contact Carer Support Dorset

LiveWell Dorset is a free service for adults who would like support to change their lifestyle. They have information to help you to manage your weight, increase your physical activity and reduce your alcohol intake.

You can find more about living well - advice for adults.

Help being heard

We have 'Experts by Experience' groups – express your interest in joining Carers Voice groups by emailing: talktoadultsteam@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk

Support for the person you care for

To find support for the person you care for you need to contact Adult Social Care you can also contact us online.

Find more information about care and support for adults - Dorset Council.

What to do if you are in a crisis

If you need immediate support, for example you are being admitted to hospital and you do not have someone to provide replacement care, please contact Adult Social Care.

You can also develop a contingency plan with Carer Support Dorset if anything goes wrong.