A Concise Guide to Direct Payments for Social Care

Direct Payments are based on the view that you are the best person to decide what care is right for you. We agree that you and your loved ones are the best people to decide what care is right for you. This principle has shaped our care services for nearly 30 years.

Under certain circumstances, instead of your local council choosing your care provider and paying for that care, you can receive money yourself to use with who you choose.

Direct Payments are optional. If you prefer for your council to arrange and pay for care on your behalf that is your choice.

Direct Payments are available to the following people:

  • Older people who need community care services.
  • Disabled people over the age of 16.
  • A parent of a disabled person.
  • A disabled person who needs help being a parent
  • A carer or somebody looking after a person who cannot take care of the money themselves.

Before claiming direct payments, you will need an assessment of needs by your local council. You can only buy equipment or help using your Direct Payments if the assessment says you need it. You must keep records of what you spend. Anything you spend on items not included in your assessment may have to be paid back.

What you can buy:

  • Equipment or help needed so that you or somebody you care for can carry on living at home or leave long-term residential care.
  • Short-term residential care (if your council agrees).
  • Employing a helper. This cannot be your husband, wife or a close relative who lives in the same home.

Direct payments cannot be used to buy care from your council or for long-term residential care.

To receive Direct Payments, you will need to prove that you are able to manage the money and spend it on the right things. The amount you get will be sufficient to cover only the care or equipment identified in your assessment of needs. If you would like additional support, you can buy this without it affecting your Direct Payment.

Direct Payments will not affect any benefits you receive such as child support or independent living fund payments. The amount you receive may depend on your income, but payments are not taxable.

We hope this guide will help you understand whether Direct Payments are the best option for you or somebody you care for. You can see an infographic of this guidance here or to find out more about how Altogether Care could help you contact us on 01305 300 161.

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