A direct payment is a cash payment made to you, or someone on your behalf, which you use to pay for things outlined in your support plan.
If you are entitled to support, rather than us arranging services for you, you can choose to receive direct payments. They give you choice and control over the support you receive and how your social care needs are met.
You may choose to have direct payments paid to you or have them paid to a family member.
Who can get a direct payment
Most people who are eligible for support from social care can choose to receive direct payments. That means you are:
- aged 16 or over and you have been assessed as eligible for support
- the parent of a disabled child who has been assessed as eligible for support
- a carer with an agreed assessment of need that is eligible for direct carer support
We have a duty to offer direct payments to people who lack the mental capacity to consent to them. There must be a 'suitable person' who agrees to oversee and be responsible for arranging the support and direct payment on the individual’s behalf.
You can't receive direct payments if you live permanently in a residential home. We will pay the provider on your behalf in this case.
What you can use them for
Direct payments can be spent on things that meet your agreed outcomes and social care needs, including personal care, respite and daytime activities, minor home adaptations and specialist equipment.
People often use them to:
- employ their own support staff (personal assistants) rather than getting support from a Council arranged care agency
- pay for mobility or household equipment
You can decide what best meets your needs. We will discuss this with you and outline what your needs are in your support plan.
What they can’t they be used for
Direct payments must not be used to pay for support that would be provided by other organisations eg NHS services. They are not for regular living expenses, such as shopping or bills.
How we can help you manage direct payments
If you currently receive support from us, speak to your social care worker or contact us to ask about direct payments.
If you can’t manage payments yourself, there are a range of money management organisations who can manage them for you. We can give you advice on what makes sense for you.
Find advice and resources on employing personal assistants.
If you do not currently get support from us, find out about getting a care and support assessment.