Direct payments for adults

If you've had a care and support assessment and a financial assessment, you may be allocated a personal budget to pay for or towards your care. We will either use this to provide you with care and support services, or you'll receive a direct payment to pay for care arranged by you or someone acting on your behalf.

Direct payments are made directly to you to buy and arrange your social care services as stated in your support plan. There are 3 different ways that we can pay the money to you:

  • an online account
  • a pre-paid card
  • a bank account


Direct payments can be made to anyone that is entitled to community care services, including:

  • disabled people aged 16 or over
  • older people
  • people with learning disabilities
  • users of mental health services
  • carers aged 16 or over who are eligible for carers' services
  • disabled parents
  • people with parental responsibility for disabled children under 16

What direct payments can be used for

Charges for services made with direct payments are made on the same basis as those arranged by social services. Direct payments can be used to buy services such as:

  • personal care, such as help getting up, washing and dressing
  • practical tasks, such as preparing meals, shopping and housework
  • help getting out and about, going to work, visiting a friend or relative, going to leisure activities
  • if you are a disabled parent, help to look after your child
  • if you are a carer, help to look after the person you care for or to give you a break from caring
  • occupational therapy equipment

Our direct payments guide has details of local social care suppliers that you may be able to buy services from with direct payments.

What direct payments cannot be used for

You cannot use direct payments for:

  • unlawful activity
  • gambling
  • subsistence – such as food and drink
  • accommodation costs
  • permanent residential care – but if indicated in your care plan they can be used for non-residential additional day activities
  • services provided by a close family member who lives with you, including your spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, or a close relative (for example parent, parent-in-law, aunt uncle, grandparent, son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step son or daughter, brother or sister)
  • respite exceeding 4 consecutive weeks in any 12 month period
  • services provided directly by the council or NHS

Your responsibilities

If you decide to receive direct payments, you'll be responsible for arranging the services outlined in your support plan. If you choose to employ someone directly to assist you, you'll have specific responsibilities as an employer, but you'll be offered advice and support to help you fulfil these legal obligations.

If you use a care agency to provide all the services you require, you'll be offered advice about choosing a suitable agency. You will not have to employ your own staff.

If you take up direct payments, you, or someone acting on your behalf, must:

  • be willing and able to direct your care or support services
  • keep simple records to show how the money is spent

Help managing direct payments

We can help you manage your direct payments – both in securing the services and the support you want the direct payments to provide. You can discuss your ideas for how you want to spend your direct payments with your social worker or direct payments advisor.

Help from family carers and friends

People can use their friends, families or carers to help them manage their direct payments. We can also help you organise this. If your direct payment is managed by a friend or relative, they can not be your paid carer or receive payment from the direct payment account.

Direct payments user group

The direct payments user group is a useful resource for advice and information for all current and prospective users of the direct payments scheme. Group members can provide mutual support and advice from a user's point of view. If you become a direct payments user we will send you details of how to join this group.

Direct payments support service

Our direct payments support service provides support, advice and guidance. 

020 8726 6000 extension 61925

2nd Floor Zone E
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Croydon CR0 1EA

Croydon Personal Support Service

You can spend your direct payment on employing a personal assistant who can help you in your care and support. Croydon Personal Support Service will provide assistance with employing and paying people to provide your care and with managing the paperwork.

01903 219482