Personal budgets and direct payments
What is a personal budget?
We will set you a personal budget if it is determined that you are eligible for support from the council, following a care needs assessment, or a carer’s assessment, and a financial assessment. This is the amount of money which the council has determined it would pay for your care and support needs to be met.
With your personal budget you can:
- Choose to take the money as a direct payment and arrange your own care and support
- Authorise the council to arrange care and support for you
- Arrange some care and support yourself, and have the council arrange some for you
Your social care worker will go through this with you when you agree your care and support plan.
What is a direct payment?
Direct payments are payments we make to you so you can arrange the care and support we have agreed you need. For more information please see:
If we cannot offer you a direct payment we will advise you of the reason why.
You will need to be able to manage your direct payments, either by yourself or with help. If you do not think you will be able to manage, you can nominate someone else to manage your payments for you. If you are acting on behalf of someone without mental capacity then you may be able to receive payments on their behalf as an authorised person. For more information please see our fact sheet on acting as a nominated or authorised person.
What can I use a direct payment for?
You can use a direct payment to:
- employ a support worker or personal assistant
- pay for a support agency of your choice
- buy equipment to help you to stay safe and independent
- fund support for you to take part in activities or outings
- provide a short break for your carer
How are direct payments paid?
The council will pay the money into a nominated direct payment account every four weeks and you will need to pay any contribution required into the same account. This account must only be used for the direct payment as the council will audit this account and how the money is spent to ensure funds are being used to meet your needs.
There are different payment options that will be discussed with you:
- Payments are usually made into a prepaid card account set up by the council which you can manage just like a standard bank account.
- If you are using your direct payment to employ a personal assistant then you might benefit from having your direct payment made into a managed account so that the payroll can be dealt with on your behalf.
- Payments can be made to a separate bank account set up by you. This is not normally an option for ongoing direct payments due to the increased level of monitoring required, but might be used for one-off payments.
How can I request a direct payment?
If you are not currently in receipt of services from the council and think you might be eligible for support then you can complete an online self-assessment.
Alternatively, you can contact adult social care.