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Direct payments

After your personal budget is calculated

Once your personal budget has been calculated and the assessment of your needs has been completed, a social care worker will calculate the amount of money that is required to meet these needs. 

You will need to decide how you want to receive and manage your personal budget; there are three options to choose from:

You can decide whether to ask the local authority to arrange the care you need (we call it a commissioned service), or to receive it as a Direct Payment for you to arrange the support to meet those needs yourself or you can have a combination of the two.

  • direct payments from us, giving you complete control
  • support arranged by us – this is where we will select your care and support from our own services or from other organisations we work with
  • a combination of both of the above options

A Direct Payment is made up of a means-tested amount that you pay (this is called your client contribution), together with an amount that the local authority will contribute. The client contribution will be the same if you choose not to have a Direct Payment.

Using Direct Payments

You can use a Direct Payment to achieve what has been agreed in your Care and Support Plan.

You could choose to (but not limited to):


You cannot use a Direct Payment to (but not limited to):

  • pay for ongoing residential or nursing care (respite care is allowed if it is part of your assessed need)
  • on anything that is against the law
  • buy food, clothing or other general living expenses
  • buy goods or services that do not relate to your agreed care needs and outcomes which are detailed in your support plan
  • employ someone who lives with you - unless there is a special reason for this and it has been agreed in advance with us
  • buy healthcare services
  • buy services directly from the council

How you receive your Direct Payment

Your Direct Payment will be paid into an online card account. You will receive your money, every four weeks, paid in advance. In some cases, such as for short breaks, you may receive this as a lump sum. You will need to pay your contribution into the Direct Payment bank account at the same time.

Managing your Direct Payment

You will be responsible for how your Direct Payment is spent. You must be able to show that it has been used for the services and support agreed in your support plan.

This means you will have to keep records of your spending and we will ask you to:

  • keep receipts and invoices
  • send us information on how you have spent your budget when requested
  • check with your social care worker if you wish to spend your budget on anything that is not in your support plan to make sure this still meets your outcomes
  • return any money not used to the council
  • keep records on wages, tax and national insurance if you employ a carer or personal assistant

You will be required to sign a contract with the council which will tell you about your responsibilities.

If you’re unable to manage the direct payment yourself, it may be possible for an authorised person to receive and manage the funds on your behalf or to use a third party managed account provider.

Getting help to manage your Direct Payment

You may want help with:

  • planning your care
  • finding care and support options to help you make your decisions
  • becoming an employer
  • your personal budget
  • setting up the online bank account
  • understanding what your responsibilities are

Contact us about direct payments

Direct Payments advice service:

Direct Payments finance team:


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