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Direct payments

If you or someone you care for get help from social services, you can apply for direct payments. These let you choose and buy the services you need yourself, instead of getting them from the council.

Once you have asked for an assessment, a social care worker will meet to talk about the things that are important to you, the things you are finding difficult to do, and what you would like to achieve. They will talk about your needs and complete an assessment under the Care Act 2014 to determine if your needs are eligible for social care funding.

You will work together to write down what your needs are and how your outcomes will be met in your Care and Support Plan.

Once the assessment of need has been completed, the social care worker will calculate the amount of money that is required to meet these needs. This amount is called your Personal Budget. 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. A Direct Payment can give you greater choice and control over the support you receive. We often call this self-directed support.

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):

  • employ a support worker or personal assistant
  • pay for a support agency of your choice
  • buy equipment to help you to stay safe and independent
  • fund support for you to take part in activities or outing
  • or anything else relevant to meet your agreed care and support outcomes


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

If you would like any further information about Direct Payments, please talk to your allocated worker or contact us directly by:


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