About direct payments
Direct payments are cash payments made to an individual directly, giving a person the choice to buy and arrange their own social care services. The services that you buy are the ones that would otherwise be provided directly by Social Services. These services are stated in your care plan, which is produced after you have had a statutory assessment of your social care needs. Direct payments can only be used to buy the services agreed in your care plan.
The levels of your direct payments will be reviewed regularly in line with your care needs and may be subject to change.
There is also the option to split the service needs to be covered partly by direct payments to buy some help yourself and partly still receive other services in the usual way.
See also the leaflet 'Direct Payments - A Route to Independence' below.
Use of direct payments
Direct payments can be used to buy services such as:
- personal care: getting up, washing, dressing
- practical tasks: preparing meals, shopping, housework
- 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.
Benefits of direct payments
Direct payments can give you wider choice, control and flexibility to meet your individual social care needs.
Payments are made directly to you to buy and arrange your own social care services as stated in your care plan.
Direct payments can be made to anyone that is entitled to community care services, including:
- disabled people aged 16 or over
- disabled parents whose children require services
- people with parental responsibility for disabled children
- carers aged 16 or over who are eligible for carers' services
People taking up direct payments must:
- be willing and able to direct their care or support services
- keep simple records to show how the money is spent
However, there is a lot of help available to help you manage your direct payment.
If you decide to receive direct payments, you will be responsible for arranging the services for which you receive a payment as a minimum.
If you choose to employ someone directly to assist you, you will have specific responsibilities as an employer but you will be offered professional advice and support to help you fulfil your obligations.
If you use a care agency to provide all the services you require, you will not have to employ your own staff and you will be offered advice about choosing a suitable agency.
You will need to open a separate bank or building society account into which payments will be made, keep financial records and submit regular returns to the council.
Charges for services via direct payments are made on exactly the same basis as those directly arranged by Social Services. You will be financially assessed in the normal way to establish how much, if anything, you will need to pay.
Help with management of direct payments
People taking up direct payments will be given the help to manage their direct payments - both in securing the services and the support they want the direct payments to provide, and in dealing with the finances.
Family carers and friends
People may use their friends, families or carers to help them manage the payments, provided the person receiving the direct payment remains in control of the money.
Direct payments support service
Our Direct Payments Support Service can provide support, advice and guidance and support planning on Direct Payments. For example, they provide assistance with employing and paying people to provide your care and with managing the paperwork and the cash payment. Their contact details are shown below.
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.
For advice and information, practical assistance and support, please contact your care manager/co-ordinator or you can contact the services listed below.
Children, youth, families and schools
Bernard Weatherill House
8 Mint Walk
Direct Payments Support Service
2nd Floor Zone E
Bernard Weatherwill House
8 Mint walk