If you’re eligible for a personal budget, you can have this money as a direct payment.
This means that you can arrange your support directly with the person or organisation you want to use instead of the council arranging services for you.
- be in charge of your own support
- have choice and flexibility to get the help you need when you want it, how you want it and from the person or organisation you choose.
A direct payment is not a Department of Work and Pensions benefit and is not classed as income or earnings.
If you choose to have a direct payment, you’ll have certain responsibilities for:
- making payments for your care and support, and
- following certain rules and regulations, including signing a legal agreement with the council, which your adult social care worker will explain to you
Who can have a direct payment
You must be able to make a decision about direct payments and be able to manage the direct payment either on your own or with the help and support of someone you trust.
Most people can have a direct payment but some people - for example if they have alcohol and drug problems - can’t have a direct payment.
Help to manage your direct payment
You can ask a family member or carer to help you manage your direct payment.
The person who helps you is known as a nominated person and must be someone the council believes is suitable.
If someone doesn’t have mental capacity to make a decision about a direct payment but has someone appointed to act in their best interests, they can receive and manage the direct payment on the person’s behalf.
They are known as an authorised person and can be:
- a family member or friend
- a solicitor
- someone who has lasting (enduring) power of attorney for the person’s finances
- a deputy appointed by the Court of Protection
An authorised person must be approved by the Council as someone suitable.
Third party direct payment money manager
If you have no one suitable to support you, your adult social care worker will talk to you about getting support from a third party direct payment money manager, who is independent of the council.
How the direct payment is paid
The council’s direct payment card account is the council’s preferred way to pay a direct payment. It’s a pre-paid on line account which operates in a similar way to a normal debit card and allows you to manage your direct payment without needing a separate bank account.
Every 4 weeks:
- we would pay our contribution towards your care and support needs into your direct payment card account.
- you must pay your contribution towards your care and support needs into your direct payment card account.
You can view your statements and transactions online at any time, just like any other online bank account.
Your adult social care worker can provide you with more information about the direct payment card, how it works and what help may be available.
What you can spend your direct payment on
You can only use it to pay for the services which have been agreed in your support plan, e.g.
- support with personal care
- equipment and minor works in the home
- employ a personal assistant. This means you would have certain legal responsibilities. You can find information and fact sheets about being an employer and employing a PA at Skills for Care . You can also watch 'What is the role of a Personal Assistant?'
You cannot spend it on household expenses or anything illegal.
Reviewing or changing your direct payment
We’ll review your direct payment after 6 to 8 weeks and then annually to make sure that you’re able to manage the direct payment and are getting the right support you need.
If you want to spend your direct payment on something that’s not included in your support plan, you’ll need to contact Adult Social Care .