Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Here are some questions that Adult Carers ask us …

Am I a Carer?

Am I a Carer?

An unpaid Carer is someone, adult or child who looks after a friend, family member or neighbour, who due to disability, mental or physical ill health, or an addiction, could not cope without their support.

Do I have to live with the person to be their unpaid carer?

You do not have to live in the same house or even the same town as the person you care for. Much care can even be provided remotely for example by making phone calls on behalf of the person you care for or do shopping online for them.

Who should I tell that I am an unpaid carer?

Let you GP know that you are an unpaid carer. You could be entitled to a health check (for over 45s), a free flu jab, and flexible appointments.

Carers’ Assessment and getting support? 

What is a Carers’ Assessment? 

Anybody over 18 who looks after another adult, who is disabled, long-term sick, elderly or suffers with addiction has the legal right to a Carers’ Assessment. This assessment is an opportunity for you to explain how caring affects your life and to explore what information, advice, benefits and services could make your life as a carer easier. It is not an assessment of your ability to care or your finances.

How can I get a Carers’ Assessment?

For non-urgent Carers’ Assessments and you can contact us.

However, if the person you care for has an allocated care-coordinator or social worker please get in touch with them to request the Carers’ Assessment.

Merton Adult Social Care is still responsible for urgent Carers’ Assessments, complex cases or cases where the cared for person is going through transition. Please contact the Merton Adult Social Care First Response Duty Team on 020 8545 4388 between 9.30am and 1.30pm.

What support can I get as an unpaid carer?

You may be eligible for practical, financial and emotional support to help manage your care duties and daily life. This could include additional services for the person you care for if they are eligible.  What is offered will depend on your individual needs.

Emergency planning

What is an emergency plan and do I need one?

An emergency plan is a plan you set out for the care of an adult or a child in case you are unable to fulfil your caring role. It sets out the practical arrangements for short-term, unplanned periods.

Having a plan in place can stop an emergency becoming a crisis. Emergency planning is important to all carers. It gives everyone involved peace of mind that help will be available at all times. 

Carers Allowance

Can I claim Carers Allowance?

There are several conditions that you need to meet to claim Carer’s Allowance including that the person you care for must be in receipt a disability benefit and you must provide a minimum of 35 hours of care per week. For further information and a full list of conditions please visit

Can I work and claim Carers Allowance?

You can work and claim Carer’s Allowance but the maximum you can earn per week is £132 after deduction of tax, national insurance contributions and work-related expenses. You must still provide a minimum of 35 hours of care per week

Can I attend college full time if I am claiming Carers Allowance?

You can attend college or a course for up to 16 hours per week as long as they still provide at least 35 hours of care per week to the person they receive Carer’s Allowance for.