Personal budgets and direct payments
What is a direct payment?
A direct payment is when the council gives you your Personal Budget and you arrange / purchase your own care and support needs. This may include hiring a personal assistant (PA).
If you decide to have a direct payment to hire (employ) a PA, then you need to be aware that there are some other tasks in relation to employing a person that you or your nominated or authorised person will need to take responsibility for.
What is the difference between a nominated person and an authorised person?
A nominated person is someone you choose to help you manage your direct payment. This could be a friend or family member. If you nominate someone to manage the direct payment on your behalf, you still maintain the legal responsibilities that go with it.
For example, Mrs smith is 92 years of age. She feels that she will have difficulty paying her personal assistant and fully understanding the contracts that are involved. With his agreement, she ‘nominates’ her son to manage the financial and legal aspects on her behalf.
An authorised person, is someone who manages the direct payment on your behalf, because you are not mentally able to do so. This might be because you have a mental health illness. This could be a friend or family member. If you have an authorised person managing your direct payment, then they become legally responsible for everything that goes with it.
For example: Mr Toms has a cognitive impairment and deemed to lack capacity regarding his finances and care needs in his most recent assessment. He responds well with a private carer which improves his quality of life. Mrs Toms will act in her husband’s best interest to manage the finances and legalities of the direct payment to improve his quality of life.
Coronavirus advice for people who receive direct payments
If you receive direct payments to organise your own care and support you may find this information useful.
AOD Direct Payment Support Service
The Direct Payment Support Service provides information, support and advice on all aspects of direct payments.
If you have any questions or queries particularly about employment issues, you can call the Independent Living Direct Payment Support Service at Action on Disability. They can help you with the latest guidance about your worker’s rights:
Am I eligible for Personal Budget or direct payments?
To find out if you are eligible for a Personal Budget or direct payments you first need to request a needs assessment.
If you have been assessed by us as requiring long term community care and support then you are likely to be eligible for a Personal Budget.
A Personal Budget is the sum of money the council assesses you as requiring to meet your care and support needs. The Personal Budget is to pay for your care and support needs each week.
What can I use my Personal Budget for?
Whatever was agreed in your support plan. For instance, having assistance to get washed and dressed, make meals, do your shopping, housework, or laundry. It could also perhaps include someone to take you out to the park, theatre, pub, college etc. All of this will be agreed with you in advance and written in your care and support plan.
Is there anything I cannot use my Personal Budget for?
Your Personal Budget is designed to give you maximum flexibility in how you choose and manage your care. However, there are some things that the money cannot be used for.
These include, but are not limited to:
- anything that is against the law
- on-going residential or nursing care - although your budget can be used for short term breaks
- repaying debts including mortgages, fuel arrears, loans
- financial investments
- household bills, for example rent, gas, electricity, water
- day to day food bills, cigarettes, and alcohol
- buying personal care from an unregistered care agency
- payments to close relatives living in the same household - unless there are exceptional circumstances which must be agreed by the council
- health care needs, which would otherwise be paid for by the NHS.
How will I receive my Personal Budget?
There are three ways that you can choose to receive a Personal Budget:
- an arranged service
- an individual service fund (ISF)
- a direct payment.
What is an arranged service?
This is when the council manages your Personal Budget on your behalf and chooses your care services for you. This may include purchasing services from a local care agency or day centre.
If you would like further information on this option then please speak to your social worker or assessor.
What is an individual service fund (ISF)?
This is when the council gives your Personal Budget to an independent agency. You choose who this agency is, but they must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The agency will work with you to design, arrange, and manage the support you want, based on what was agreed in your support plan. The agency then sets this up for you.
See the individual service fund easy read leaflet (pdf) for further information.
To find out more about Personal Budgets and direct payments please contact us on Freephone 0800 145 6095, 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday or email: email@example.com
Other information and advice
HomeCareDirect aims to help people to take control over their care at home, whether through a personal budget, personal health budget, direct payment or for people who pay for their care themselves.
Home Care Direct
The Money Advice Service
The Money Advice Service
Your personal budget for social care | Independent Age
The Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
Personal budget | Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities
Personal budgets | Sense
Disability Rights UK
Social care and personal budgets | Disability Rights UK
Hometouch is an online service that helps people select and contract with a qualified, vetted carer or personal assistant of their choice. Hometouch checks the qualifications and references of carers or personal assistants before signing them up.