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Direct payments

A direct payment is money given to people to help them to arrange their own support and services. You can choose to take your personal budget as a direct payment to buy your own care and support, instead of us organising services for you.

Who can access this support?

Direct payments are available to people who have had an assessment and are eligible for help and support from the council to lead an independent life, for example help with washing and dressing. People living in residential care homes or nursing care homes are not eligible to receive this type of financial assistance.

What can direct payments be used for?

Direct payments can be used for anything you have agreed in your support plan. This can include things such as:

  • help with washing, showering, eating, dressing, personal care and getting in and out of bed
  • help with things you do in the day
  • practical help, for example with shopping, essential cleaning, or preparing a meal
  • short breaks for yourself.

You can use a direct payment to employ a personal assistant, who could be somebody you know, or a member of your family who does not live with you. You can use a direct payment to employ an agency that is able to meet your particular cultural or lifestyle needs.

They cannot be used for:

  • services provided by us
  • accommodation/housing costs
  • services for your health care needs
  • medicines, health care and equipment the NHS would be expected to provide (a personal assistant can support someone to a health-related appointment of therapy)
  • household bills
  • long-term residential care

Your direct payment will support the cost of services agreed in your support plan.

How can I apply for a direct payment?

If you currently receive support from us and would like to switch to direct payments then you should contact your social worker.

If you are applying for support for the first time, your social worker should discuss the option of direct payments with you.

If you are eligible for direct payments, we will discuss a start date with you so you can make arrangements for your own care and support. When you are happy with the arrangements you will be asked to sign a contract with us. The contract is simply an agreement that you will use the money to pay for your own care and support. Then the payment will be set up.

What is a pre-paid card?

Most people can have their direct payments loaded on to a pre-paid card (PPC), this is a pre-loaded card which works in a similar way to a bank debit card. It allows you spend your direct payments without needing to set up a bank account or manage paper statements.

You can find out more about a pre-paid card on the following link:

What am I responsible for?

We try to make direct payments as simple as possible. If you would like our help, we work with a support agency to help you manage your budget.

You will be responsible for the following things:

  • Managing the money. You must have a separate direct payments bank account and keep records of how the money is spent
  • Arranging any services, and sorting out any problems
  • Employing any staff, and taking on any legal responsibilities related to them.

Are direct payments difficult to manage?

We try to make the system as simple as possible. If you choose to receive help from a support agency, this will be provided by one of two agencies:

If you choose to use an agency, you will still have a choice and control over who provides care and support. The agency will complete the forms on your behalf to show what you have spent the money on.

What happens if I am not able to manage my direct payment?  

If this is the case, will take steps to cease the direct payment and to meet your needs in alternative ways.

Direct payments guidance

Direct payments guidance

Find out how to get direct payments, how we provide them and the way they work in practice

Frequently asked questions

Contact us

Ring us on: 0116 454 1004