Have more choice over how you live your life
Direct payments and personal budgets are a sum of money paid directly to you from your local authority to give you more flexibility over how your care and support is arranged and provided. You can use direct payments to meet your assessed needs. If your local authority decides that you need support, you will receive a personal budget and can choose to receive this in the form of direct payments instead of the arrangements being made for you.
Why choose direct payments?
Direct payments were introduced to help people live more independently by giving people more choice and control over how their care and support needs are met and arranged.
Many people choose to employ their own carer/personal assistant, although there are many other ways direct payments can be used. Having control over your care and support is an attractive option for many, however, some people may
be unsure whether they want or could manage a direct payment. In this instance, mixed packages of care can be provided, such as a smaller direct payment, with some aspects arranged by the council or a care provider.
Who can receive direct payments?
Direct payments can be given to both people with care and support needs and also to carers. In most cases, if you or the person you’re looking after are assessed and social services decide that you need support, the option of receiving direct payments must be offered so you are able to arrange care and support yourself, instead of having it arranged for you. Should you want to receive direct payments but would rather not manage it yourself a “nominated person” can receive the direct payment and manage it on your behalf.
Social services do not have a duty to offer direct payments under the following circumstances:
- Individuals subject to mental health laws: in this case social services can decide whether or not to offer direct payments
- Offenders who are required to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol dependence
Managing direct payments
Direct payments can only be used towards aspects that meet the assessed needs of the person, for example, paying a carer/personal assistant to support you at home, but something they could not be used for is to fund your household bills.
If you spend a direct payment on something that doesn’t meet your needs, social services can recover the money from you or terminate the direct payment agreement. Everyone who receives support from social services should have their care and support plan reviewed at least once yearly.
In the meantime if someone’s needs have changed they should contact social services so a care plan review can be conducted. If the review finds that care needs have changed that affects the details within the current plan, another needs assessment or financial assessment may be conducted.
Social services can charge for care and support. This means that you may need to make a financial contribution towards your personal budget depending on your financial circumstances. The details of this will be detailed in your personal budget. Usually the council will subtract any charge you need to pay from the personal budget amount, rather than asking you to pay.
You can use your direct payment allocation to Choose Your Own Carer/Personal Assistant instead of using an agency. In some cases the Local Authority may agree that you can employ a family member to meet all your care and support needs.
Having a direct payment and choosing someone directly to support you is sometimes thought to be a more expensive option when in reality the costs are similar to using a care agency.
The Direct Payment allows you to be in control of who provides your support and provides consistency of care.
We can help you with all aspects of this process.
To find out more
Contact us for free information and advice below:
You can employ a carer/ personal assistant through
Information & Advice
T: 0800 731 8470