We will continue to pay your Direct Payment into your account as usual every 4 weeks. You should continue to pay your assessed charge unless a different arrangement has been agreed by us.
The GOV.UK website has guidance for people receiving direct payments.
You can also visit the GOV.UK website for the Government and Public Health guidelines to keep updated and ensure you are able to choose and control your support arrangements at this time.
Information about supporting employers, employed and self-employed personal assistants can be found on the Skills for care website.
If nothing has changed and you're still being provided the same support as before, there is no need to contact us.
Information about day opportunities that have ceased can be found on our Day activity services page.
If you employ a personal assistant (PA) and you are self isolating
According to the government guidelines, if you are self isolating and your PA is either not required to work or is shielding, they will most likely not be eligible for the government’s Job Retention Scheme (also known as furloughing). An update on this scheme is available on the GOV.UK website.
This is because our direct payment funding is public money and it’s not possible to receive public funding from more than one source at the same time. This is our interpretation of the government guidance at this time.
As the employer, you are free to choose to continue to pay your PA. You will need to contact your payroll provider to arrange this and discuss what to pay them based on their hours or on an average of the last 12 months. You should also contact your insurance provider to make sure there is no addendum to their contract.
If your PA is unwell
If your PA is unwell, Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) may apply if they earn on average £120 or more per week. If they are not eligible, they can apply for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.
As their employer, you will need to complete the SSP1 form to support their application.
If your PA chooses not to work, you are not obliged to pay them. They can take holiday or unpaid leave. More information can be found on the ACAS website.
If your PA is unable to work, encourage other PAs/carers or family and friends to help. You may need to consider reducing the support you currently receive to meet your basic eligible needs.
If you use the services of a self employed PA and you are self isolating or shielding
Government guidelines advise that self employed PAs may be eligible for the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.
You can choose to pay your PA whilst you self isolate or if they are shielding, if so, they should submit invoices as they usually would with an additional note on the invoice:
“This invoice is in lieu of services not provided throughout the Coronavirus period whilst (client’s name) is self isolating/shielding.”
If they continue to be paid via the direct payment, they will not have a loss of income so they will not be able to claim under the Income Support Scheme.
If your PA would like to seek advice, they should contact their insurer.
If you have agency support and are self isolating or shielding
If you use an agency to provide your support and are self isolating or have been advised to shield yourself, refer to their terms and conditions regarding pausing their services for periods. This will determine what you will be expected to pay. If they are unable to provide you support, this should also be in their terms and conditions.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
Direct Payments' recipients personal assistants can be tested for COVID-19 if they have symptoms to determine if they have or do not have the virus to enable them to carry on working if negative (if well enough).
More information can be found on the Dorset Council website.
The Direct Payments Team are available to help you in your decision making, please also let us know what alternative plans you have if you are not currently using your Direct Payment for paid support.
Bournemouth and Christchurch locality clients:
Poole locality clients:
If your day opportunity is cancelled, leaving you vulnerable and without support to meet your basic assessed eligible needs, please look at our day activity services page or contact us by: