After care and support assessments have been carried out, we will agree a personal budget, which is an amount of money reasonable to meet your outcomes. You can take some or all this as a direct payment, so that you can arrange your own care and support. In some cases, we may arrange and pay for your services directly.
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 directly provided by the council.
See also the leaflet 'Direct Payments - A Route to Independence'.
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 support 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
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 outlined in your support plan. If you choose to employ someone directly to assist you, you will have specific responsibilities as an employer but you will be offered 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.
Charges for services using 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.
We will pay the money onto a pre-paid card which we will set up for you and this acts like a debit card, you can pay for services by telephone or online.
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. 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. If you become a direct payments user, we will give you details of how to join this group.
For advice and information, practical assistance and support, please contact your care manager/co-ordinator or you can contact the services listed below. You can also find out more details in the Direct Payments FAQ below.
Direct Payments Support Service
2nd Floor Zone E
Bernard Weatherwill House
8 Mint walk