Direct Payments are a way of arranging your own care services by receiving a regular cash payment instead of having services arranged or provided by the Local Authority.
Direct Payments are designed to give you flexibility to meet your care needs in ways that are most convenient for you. With Direct Payments you choose who provides the care to meet your needs, and you control when services are delivered.
If you are eligible to receive services, a Direct Payment can help you to gain greater independence by giving you control over how your needs are met. With a Direct Payment you choose who provides the care you need and you decide when those services are provided.
You must remember that these payments are only made to help you purchase care to meet your assessed needs and are not extra money to spend as you choose. They cannot, for example, pay for services you receive from Health or the Housing Department. Direct Payments are not regarded as income, so your income tax and/or benefit situation will not be affected.
You may still be expected to pay a contribution towards your Direct payment service in the same way you would if the council were arranging your service. The Paying for Community Care and Support leaflet at the bottom of the page can provide more information regarding this.
Who can receive Direct Payments?
We have a duty to offer direct payments to all those potentially eligible to receive them. The eligible groups are:
- Adult disabled people receiving or eligible to receive, community care services;
- All Adults over 65 years of age who are eligible for Community Care Services;
- People receiving carers' services;
- A person with parental responsibility for a disabled chil
- A disabled person aged 16 or 17;
- People who lack capacity to choose a Direct Payment may be able to have an appointed “Suitable Person”.
You do not have to be currently receiving services to be eligible for direct payments. However you can replace existing services with Direct Payments if you choose to do so. As long as you have had an assessment of need you may be eligible.
To receive a Direct Payment, you must be capable of managing the Scheme either on your own or with support.
Peopleplus provide a support scheme that help people who want to use a Direct Payment to manage their responsibilities.
What help can Peopleplus provide?
The Direct Payment Support Scheme has advisors who can meet with you to discuss the Direct Payments scheme and help you to decide if you would like to receive your services in this way.
If you choose to have a Direct Payment, Peopleplus can help you to meet your responsibilities as an employer:
- They can assist with the recruitment of your support staff (these are called Personal Assistants or P/A’s);
- They can arrange to pay the P/A’s on your behalf and deal with Income Tax, NI contributions etc…
- They can arrange For police checks to be carried out;
- You will need to open a separate bank account for your Direct Payments;
- The support scheme will help you to manage and account for the money you receive from the Local Authority;
- The Local authority will need to audit your accounts regularly to ensure you are managing and the support scheme can help you with this
meeting the requirements of employment law, i.e. safeguarding the well being of your personal assistants,
- Taking out the appropriate insurance cover.
Before we agree to provide you with Direct Payments, we will have to be satisfied that you will meet these responsibilities successfully.
What do I need to do?
If you are not currently receiving any services from us, you will need to arrange for an assessment of need. This can be arranged via the Duty Officer whose contact details are below.
If you are already receiving services and are interested in changing to direct payments, contact your social worker or the duty officer who will arrange to meet with you and discuss the scheme
How can I use Direct Payments?
Once the services you need have been agreed, you can arrange to have a Direct Payment to purchase that support yourself. You cannot use this money for any other purpose.
How do I find suitable personal assistants?
If you have not got chosen someone to support you, Peopleplus will assist you in recruiting suitable people to provide your care.
Can I employ a close relative as a personal assistant?
There are restrictions as to who can be employed. Close relatives are normally excluded.
How do I pay the personal assistant?
You will need to have a separate bank account open for the purpose. The Support Scheme can assist to set this up and arrange payments.
What about their Tax and National Insurance?
You are responsible for paying these but again, Peopleplus can assist you with this.
Do I need to keep records?
Yes, we will need to monitor the use of the direct payments so you will need to keep bank statements, and similar documents. Assistance is also available to help you with this. There is a leaflet at the bottom of page providing further information around the reviews that we undertake.
What happens if my circumstances change?
We can look again at your needs and if your needs increase your payments may increase to reflect this. If your circumstances improve, your payments may go down to reflect the changes
What if I no longer want to continue with Direct Payments?
If your circumstances change and you no longer need Direct Payments the support scheme will assist you to end them. If you want to cancel your Direct Payments but still need services, you can choose to have those services provided or arranged by us.