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Council Services:

Direct Payments

Direct Payments are payments made in cash by the Social Services department, which are aimed at helping people live independently in their own homes

Direct Payments are a way for customers of social services to have more control over the service they receive.  Customers who are eligible for services (day care, personal care, respite care and equipment and adaptations) can opt to receive the money for the service and purchase it themselves. In this way they can choose the exact service they want, when they want it and who provides it.

There are two types of Direct Payments: one off payments for single periods of respite care, equipment and small scale adaptations to property and ongoing Direct Payments for care services.

For one-off payments, the service required will be put into a contract stating what the money can be spent on and how much money will be sent.  A cheque will then be sent so that the care can be purchased.  Receipts or paid invoices will need to be sent to Social Services to prove that the right care has been bought.

For ongoing payments, a separate bank account has to be set up.  Once the scheme has been organised, money will be sent once a month in advance, from Social Services which will be used to recruit, organise and pay staff, or contract with other service providers (agencies etc). The scheme requires that evidence of how the money has been paid is sent in on a regular basis.

There is no minimum Direct Payment. The amount received will be based on an assessment of need, agreed between the customer and Social Services. Any amount can be made as a Direct Payment from one hour per week upwards. However, if the customer has very high needs, they may need to consider applying to the Independent Living Fund for additional finance. For further information their email address is: funds@ilf.org.uk 

Whilst the Direct Payments scheme provides many advantages, it also requires that the customer takes responsibility for the day-to-day management of their care. This is a daunting prospect for some people. For this reason, Direct Payments Support Workers are employed independently from Social Services to provide impartial information, advice and support to anyone that needs it. The Penderels Trust, a charitable organisation that Social Services pay, employs the Support Workers (see ‘Contacts’ tab).

Customers can ‘mix and match’ and have some of their support provided by Social Services and take some as a direct payment.  Direct Payments are not a social security benefit, will not affect any means-tested benefit and are not taxable. 

The following people are eligible for Direct Payments

  • People over 16 years of age who have been assessed as eligible for Community Care Services;
  • Carers of people who have been assessed as being eligible for Community Care Services, including young people aged sixteen and seventeen who are carers;
  • young people with a disability aged sixteen and seventeen;
  • People having parental responsibility for a child with disabilities;
  • Disabled people with parental responsibility for a child;

People can have as much help as they need to manage their Direct Payments.

Direct Payments can cover the following services:

  • Personal Care Needs (Personal Care includes washing, showering, dressing, and assistance with toileting, transfer and moving);
  • Support to Daily Living Activities - this could include activities that assist in developing or maintaining essential social and community contacts, activities that assist in returning to, or continuing in education or employment, and activities that assist a carer to maintain their caring role. 
  • Short term breaks;
  • Equipment and adaptations that would otherwise have been provided by the Social Services Department;

Not everything can be paid for from the Direct Payments scheme, for example long term residential and nursing care, food, heating costs, education, leisure activities, entry fees, and accommodation costs including rent etc are not eligible.

An assessment is needed before Direct Payments can be agreed.  If anyone is interested in finding out more about Direct Payments then they should either contact their Social Worker or ring us (see ‘Contacts’ tab).  As Direct Payments are a considerable responsibility, the decision to use them should not be undertaken lightly. We suggest that potential customers seek additional advice and support from their Social Worker, as well as talking to other people using the scheme, before making a decision. 

If you have difficulty accessing the forms (see ‘Downloads’ tab) please contact us and ask for hard copy versions.

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Last updated: 28 January 2014

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