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Eligibility criteria for carers with support needs

If you are an adult who provides unpaid care for another adult, then you are a carer. Caring for someone can be a very demanding role. Under the Care Act 2014 you are entitled to a Carer's Assessment, which will look at the different ways in which caring affects your life. Carers can be eligible for support whether or not the adult for whom they care has eligible needs.

After completing the assessment, the local authority must determine whether you are eligible for support. This is set out in regulations that set the national minimum threshold for eligibility, which consists of three criteria, all of which must be met for a carer's needs to be eligible which are as follows:

The carer's needs for support arise because they are providing 'necessary' care to an adult.

The carer must also be providing 'necessary' care (i.e. activities that the individual requiring support should be able to carry out as part of normal daily life but is unable to do so). If the carer is providing care and support for needs that the adult is capable of meeting themselves, the carer may not be providing 'necessary' care and support. However, necessary care includes care provided to support needs that are not eligible.

As a result of their caring responsibilities, the carer's physical or mental health is, or is at risk of either deteriorating, or because of the caring role the carer is unable to achieve any one of the outcomes as specified in the regulations provided under the Care and Support Eligibility Criteria:

  • Carrying out any caring responsibilities the carer has for a child
  • Providing care to other persons for whom the carer provides care
  • Maintaining a habitable home environment in the carer's home (whether or not this is also the home of the adult needing care)
  • Managing and maintaining nutrition
  • Developing and maintaining family or other personal relationships
  • Engaging in work, training, education, or volunteering
  • Making use of necessary facilities or services in the local community, including recreational facilities or services
  • Engaging in recreational activities

The regulations provide that 'being unable' to achieve an outcome includes circumstances where the carer:

  • Is unable to achieve the outcome without assistance. This includes where the carer would be unable to achieve an outcome even if assistance were provided. For example, a carer might be unable to fulfil their parental responsibilities unless they receive support in their caring role.
  • Is able to achieve the outcome without assistance, but doing so causes or is likely to cause significant pain, distress or anxiety. For example, a carer might be able to care for the adult and undertake full-time employment, but if doing both causes the carer significant distress, the carer should not be considered able to engage in employment.
  •  Is able to achieve the outcome without assistance but doing so is likely to endanger the health or safety of themselves or any adults or children for whom they provide care. For example, a carer might be able to provide care for their family and deliver necessary care for the adult with care and support needs, but, where this endangers the adult - for example, because the adult receiving care would have to be left alone while other responsibilities are met - the carer should not be considered able to meet the outcome of caring for their family.

There is no hierarchy to the eligibility outcomes - all are equally important.

As a consequence there is, or there is likely to be, a significant impact on the carer's wellbeing, determining whether:

  • The carer's needs impact on an area of wellbeing in a significant way


  • The cumulative effect of the needs impact on a number of the areas of wellbeing to an extent that they have a significant impact on the carer's overall wellbeing.

This page should be read in conjunction with The Care and Support (Eligibility Criteria) Regulations 2014 , and with Chapter 6 of the Care and support statutory guidance