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Direct payments are one way you can use to manage your personal budget.

Direct payments are a cash amount based on the amount agreed in your personal budget so that you can arrange and pay for social care support instead of the Council arranging services for you.

Direct payments offer greater flexibility, choice and control than support being arranged for you by the Council.​

The Council will, give every direct payment recipient that wants one, a pre-paid bank account for their direct payments to ease the financial management and reduce the manual audit process of the payment. This for example allows the Council to focus more on the care or support plan at the time of review rather than manually auditing the direct payment bank account. The individual is still free to exercise choice and control in line with their agreed outcomes in their care or support plan.

Since March 2015 the Council’s preferred and default position is to give every direct payment recipient a pre-paid bank account. Consideration will be given for the Direct Payment to be paid into a ‘old style’ bank account if this is what an individual requests. The Council will agree this providing if this meets the individual’s needs and keeps them safe and well.

It is your choice if you want to have a direct payment. The Council must be satisfied that you understand what it involves and that the way you choose to use the money will meet your needs and achieve the agree outcomes as stated in your support plan. The way you use them must be legal and keep you safe and well.

For example you may want to employ your own personal assistant, providing you with the support at the times you want. Alternatively you may decide you want to use money to buy support from a care agency. Or you may want to find an alternative to the types of respite support the Council could arrange for you.

Direct payments can be used in a wide range of creative ways as long as it is safe and legal to do so. There are some exceptions which your Council will explain to you on request.

You can only have direct payment once you have had an assessment and the Council agrees you are eligible for certain social care services and you are:

  • a disabled person aged 16 years and above
  • a parent of (or people with parental responsibility for) disabled children, to pay for services for the family
  • a carer aged 16 years and above, for services to meet the carers own assessed needs
  • a disabled person with parental responsibilities for a child, for services to support their parenting role
  • an appointed suitable or authorised person for someone who lacks capacity (the Council must agree who the suitable or authorised person is)

You may want to use a home care company (also known as a domiciliary care company) to provide your care.

If you choose to use a care company, the staff who work with you are usually employed by the company (Caremark employees). In this case you will not be the employer and Caremark will be responsible for managing the staff and will pay their wages.

You will still maintain choice and control as you will make arrangements directly with the management and will be able to say how, when and where your support will be provided.

You will pay an invoice when you receive it from your direct payments bank account.

Always check that you have discussed all of your arrangements with us and have an agreement and support plan.

Call us to discuss your options regarding choosing your own care company and having the freedom to spend your personal budget how you would like to.

Call us on 01905 452 595 for any advice you are after


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