Recognition of the Informal Carer Status
Who are the target citizens of this information? Who are the target citizens of this information?
Citizens who provide permanent or regular care to a dependent family member (person receiving care) and who wish to be recognised as informal carers.
Necessary conditions for the recognition of the informal carer status Necessary conditions for the recognition of the informal carer status
In order to be recognised as an informal carer, the person providing care must fulfil certain conditions, as well as the person receiving care (see next tab on the necessary conditions of the person receiving care).
Only one carer per household can be recognised as an informal carer.
The informal carer can be considered as primary or non-primary carer.
The informal carer must fulfil the following conditions, cumulatively:
- To be legally resident in the national territory;
- To be aged 18 or older;
- To have adequate health conditions to provide care to the person concerned and be available to provide that care;
- To be spouse or de facto partner, relative or kin, in straight line or collateral line, up to the 4th degree, of the person receiving care (e.g.: son/daughter, grandson/granddaughter, great-grandson/great-granddaughter, brother/sister, father/mother, uncle/aunt, grandfather/grandmother, great-grandfather/great-grandmother, great-uncle/great-aunt or cousin);
- He/she cannot be a total invalidity pensioner or an invalidity pensioner under the special invalidity protection scheme and cannot be receiving care benefits.
Primary informal carer
In addition to the aforementioned conditions, the primary informal carer must also fulfil the following conditions, cumulatively:
- He/she must live in the same house with the person receiving care;
- The care must be provided on a permanent basis, even if the person receiving care is attending a special educational establishment, or social responses of a non-residential nature, in situations where the Specific Intervention Plan determines the need to complement the care provided by the informal caregiver in this way:
- He/she cannot be carrying out any gainful professional activity or any other activity incompatible with the provision of permanent care to the person concerned;
- He/she cannot be receiving unemployment benefits;
- He/she cannot be receiving any remuneration for the care provided to the person concerned.
Non-primary informal carer
The non-primary informal carer accompanies and takes care of another person on a regular, but not permanent basis, and may or may not receive remuneration from a professional activity or due to the care provided to the person concerned.
The following citizens are considered to be legally resident in Portugal:
- Portuguese citizens whose habitual residence is in Portugal.
- Citizens of the European Union, European Economic Area and third countries that have an agreement on the free movement of persons within the European Union, who hold an EU citizen registration certificate issued by the municipal council of the place where they are residing.
- Stateless persons and nationals of States not mentioned above, who hold a temporary stay visa, a residence visa, a temporary residence permit or a permanent residence permit issued under the legal scheme of foreigners’ entry and permanence in and exit and removal out of the national territory, provided that they are staying or residing in national territory under one of the abovementioned permits for at least one year, unless the respective holder has been granted refugee status.
Necessary conditions of the person receiving care Necessary conditions of the person receiving care
For the purpose of the informal carer status recognition, the person receiving care must fulfil the following conditions:
- He/she must be in a dependency situation and in need of permanent care provided by a third party;
- He/she cannot be accommodated in a public or private residential structure, of social or health care response;
- He/she must be holder of the following social benefits:
- Second-degree long-term care supplement
- First-degree long-term care supplement, provided that he/she is temporarily bedridden or in need of permanent care according to specific assessment by the permanent disability assessment system of the Social Security Institute (ISS, I.P – Instituto da Segurança Social, I.P.)
- Allowance for care provided by a third party,
If the person receiving care has neither applied for nor received any of the previously mentioned benefits, he/she may submit the respective application along with the application for the Recognition of the Informal Carer Status.
How to apply for the recognition of the informal carer status How to apply for the recognition of the informal carer status
The person concerned must submit the application for the Recognition of the Informal Carer Status, Form Mod. CI 1-DGSS – Requerimento - Reconhecimento do Estatuto do Cuidador Informal, together with the documents indicated therein, preferably via the Social Security Online Service (Segurança Social Direta) or at any Social Security customer information service.
After the person concerned is recognised as an informal caregiver, the Informal Carer Identification Card is issued.
The application form is available in the Documentação Relacionada (Related Documentation) menu, at the upper right corner of the screen, or in any Social Security customer information service.
For information on how to access the Social Security Online Service (Segurança Social Direta), see the Practical Guide available in the Documentação Relacionada (Related Documentation) menu at the upper right corner of the screen.
Measures to support the informal carer Measures to support the informal carer
People who have been granted the status of informal carer are entitled to support measures of a different nature, as provided for in Ministerial Order no. 64/2020 of 10 March, such as:
- The competent health and social security services of the place where the person receiving care is residing shall appoint a qualified professional according to the needs of the person receiving care. This qualified professional is responsible for a close follow-up of the situation and, together with the person receiving care and the informal carer, he/she must identify the appropriate forms of intervention and mobilize the available resources in order to ensure, in an integrated and systemic manner, the support and services necessary to respond to the needs of the person concerned, in terms of health care and social support
- The qualified professional from the Health services, namely in the family health team context, is responsible for advising, monitoring, enabling and training the informal carer in order to develop his/her competences in the provision of healthcare to the person receiving care.
Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE – Plano de intervenção específico ao cuidador)
- The Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE) is a document/programme resulting from the diagnosis of the situation and planning of measures focused on continuity and proximity of care according to the identified health and social security needs.
- The PIE is drawn up jointly by the qualified professional from the health services, and by the qualified professional from the social security services, with the active participation of the informal carer or his/her accompanying person or his/her representative, within 30 days from the decision granting the informal carer status.
- The PIE includes the assessment of the informal carer's needs, the follow-up, counselling, capacity-building and training strategies that the carer must pursue in order to meet or minimize the needs arising from the situation of the person receiving care and the resources to be mobilized for support and relief in the provision of care.
- In addition to the identification of the carer and the person receiving care, the PIE shall include the following information:
- Result of the diagnosis of the informal carer’s needs in line with those of the person receiving care;
- Identification of care to be provided by the informal carer, as well as information supporting such care;
- Annual rest period of the informal carer, if applicable;
- Declaration of consent of the person receiving care for accommodation in a social response or unit of the National Network of Integrated Long-term Care (Rede Nacional de Cuidados Continuados Integrados) so that the informal caregiver may rest, where applicable;
- Continuous training and capacity-building actions and information that the informal caregiver should attend or consult;
- Access to health and social support measures aimed at the person receiving care, promoting his/her autonomy, participation, life quality and good care, namely those that contribute to improving the life quality of the person concerned;
- Assessment of the caregr’s life quality and burden, where appropriate;
- Identification of relevant resources in the community for the situation under assessment;
- Identification of qualified professionals of the health and social security services, as well as the way in which they may be contacted swiftly;
- Identification of the self-help groups available in the residence area of the carer.
- The Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE) must be evaluated and reviewed whenever necessary, at least once every six months, considering the changes in the needs of the informal carer or the person receiving care, as well as the available support resources and services.
The Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE) may be reviewed at any time whenever there is a change in the needs associated with the care provision.
- Informal carers have the right to participate in self-help groups, created in the health services responsible for their follow-up, promoted by health professionals with a view to mutual help and sharing of experiences between people who are experiencing or have experienced similar situations and/or difficulties, minimizing their possible isolation.
- Self-help groups are aimed to:
- Provide information, support and encouragement;
- Promote self-esteem, trust and emotional stability;
- Foster communication between people and the establishment of positive supportive relationships;
- Minimise isolation by fostering integration into the community.
- In order to enable the caregiver to participate in self-help groups, and if necessary, the qualified professional from the social security services must provide information about the existing social support networks that are more appropriate to substitute the caregiver during his/her possible temporary absence.
Training and information
- Health services shall provide the informal carer with specific information appropriate to the needs of the person receiving care and information on how best to provide him/her with the necessary care, in cooperation with social security services, whenever necessary.
- In situations where the person receiving care resides in a municipality different from the one where the carer is residing, the competent health services of the residence area of the person receiving care are responsible for ensuring the necessary training adequate to the situation.
- It is up to the health services to define the content and organisation of the training actions and specific information according to the activities to be carried out by the informal carer, identified in the Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE), in cooperation with the social security services, where necessary.
- The social security and health services, without prejudice to coordination with other social action resources of the community, shall ensure psychosocial support for the informal carer through a systemic and organised intervention, with the aim of:
- Promoting the development of personal and social skills;
- Promoting the necessary conditions for the provision of care appropriate to the well-being of the person receiving care;
- Providing information and ensuring referral to responses and services to mitigate and solve complex situations, namely at the level of dependency, mental health, the informal carers’ rest need, etc.;
- Promoting the use of resources and social support, the need for which is expressed in the diagnosis of the informal carer’s potential and needs, in line with those of the person receiving care.
- In the provision of psychosocial support, the principle of minimum intervention must be safeguarded, in the sense that the intervention must be carried out exclusively by entities whose action is essential for the effective promotion of rights and the protection of the person receiving care.
Counselling, support and guidance
The informal carer can resort to technicians from the municipality and other services, who may give him/her advice, support and guidance, within the scope of social action Information and support services.
Informal carer’s rest
- The informal caregiver may benefit from a rest period, according to the assessment carried out in the Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE), as a result of the technical assessment and/or at the request of the informal caregiver and/or person receiving care, with a view to reducing the caregiver’s physical and emotional burden.
- To allow the informal carer's rest, and under conditions to be defined by a ministerial order, the person receiving care may:
- Be referred, within the scope of the National Network of Integrated Long-term Care (RNCCI - Rede Nacional de Cuidados Continuados Integrados), to a long-term in-patient and maintenance unit, benefiting from a positive differentiation in accordance with Article 7(11) of the Informal Carer Statute;
- Be referred, within the scope of the Mental Health National Network of Integrated Long-term Care (RNCCI de Saúde Mental) to a residence accommodation unit with maximum support or a residence unit with moderate support, benefiting from a positive differentiation;
- Be referred to and accommodated in social support establishments, namely Residential Structures for Elderly People (ERPI – Estrutura Residencial para Pessoas Idosas), Residential Homes or Host Families for elderly people and adults with disabilities, on a periodic and temporary basis;
- Benefit from home support services (SAD – Serviços de Apoio Domiciliário).
- The accommodation in establishments of the RNCCI and Mental Health RNCCI results from the diagnosis carried out in the Specific intervention plan for the carer (PIE), over a period of up to 30 days per year, due to the need for the informal carer’s rest, depending on the availability of places for rest, without prejudice to the provisions of Decree-Law no. 101/2006 of 6 June and Decree-Law no. 8/2010 of 28 January, with priority being given to carers who are identified as having greatest needs.
- The carer’s rest must be defined in the Specific intervention plan for the caregiver (PIE) and must take into account:
- The will of the informal carer and the person receiving care;
- The needs of the carer and the person receiving care;
- The labour requirements of the informal carer, where applicable;
- Functional limitations and exhaustion levels of the informal carer, namely through burden assessment;
- The features of the supporting social network;
- The proximity to the residence area of the person receiving care.
- The implementation of the measures for the carer’s rest provided for in paragraph 2 (a) and (b) is the responsibility of the qualified professional from the health services and, in the case of those provided for in paragraph 2 (c) and (d), the respective implementation is the responsibility of the qualified professional from the social security services.
Promotion of the carer’s integration into the labour market
The primary informal carer is entitled to support and technical interventions promoted by the Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP, I.P. – Instituto do Emprego e da Formação Profissional) with a view to his/her social and occupational integration and return to the labour market, in the following terms:
- Applying the candidate to immediately available job offers that match his/her profile;
- Providing professional guidance to support the management of carers’ professional career, namely, those who want to rethink their professional project, who are interested in creating a business project or who have to make educational and training choices;
- Providing geographical mobility supports for candidates who conclude employment contracts or create their own employment and whose workplace involves their geographical mobility, as provided for in the applicable legislation;
- Providing integration supports within the scope of professional traineeships, appropriate to the basic academic or professional qualification of these candidates, for the development of skills and improvement of the employability profile, as provided for in the applicable legislation;
- Providing hiring supports within the scope of available measures aimed at stimulating the hiring of these candidates and facilitating their integration into the labour market, as provided for in the applicable legislation;
- Providing entrepreneurship supports within the scope of available measures, to help the creation of small business projects and the creation of new jobs, as provided for in the applicable legislation;
- Providing integration supports through the development of socially useful activities that meet temporary social or collective needs of the promoters, in accordance with the applicable legislation, with a view to promoting employability and improving the social and occupational skills of these candidates through contact with the labour market, avoiding isolation, demotivation or marginalisation risks.
Access to the measures referred to in points a) to c) and f) to g) does not require compliance with specific access requirements other than recognition of the informal carer status.
Access to the measures referred to in points d) and e) is defined in a specific Ministerial Order of the Government member responsible for the employment area, in accordance with Decree-Law no. 13/2015 of 26 January.
The registration at the employment centre is mandatory after the conditions that determined the recognition of the informal carer status have ceased.
Recognition, Validation and Certification of Competences
- After the end of care provision, the person who has been recognised as an informal caregiver and wishes to pursue a professional activity, may be referred to a Qualifying Centre (Centro Qualifica) for the purposes of diagnosis and referral to a qualification path, namely within the scope of the recognition, validation and certification of competences (RVCC) at school and professional levels.
- Within the scope of the recognition, validation and certification of competences (RVCC) at school and professional levels, all the training actions attended by the informal carer, as well as skills acquired throughout the informal care provision experience, are taken into account.
- The RVCC processes referred to in the preceding paragraphs make it possible to recognise the accumulated experience of these carers in the informal exercise of their duties and to award them the corresponding certification within the scope of the National Qualifications Catalogue.