The basics of direct payments
You may have been offered a personal budget and are considering choosing a direct payment as a means of meeting the outcomes you discussed with your social care practitioner.
What are direct payments?
Direct payments are a cash amount based on the amount agreed in your personal budget so that you can arrange and pay for social care support instead of us arranging services for you. They will be paid to you on a prepaid card if it is an ongoing payment or into a bank account for one-off payments. Direct payments offer greater flexibility, choice and control than support being arranged for you.
It is your choice if you want to have direct payments, but we must be satisfied that you understand what it involves and the way you choose to use the cash will meet your needs and achieve the agreed outcomes. The way you use them must be legal and keep you safe and well.
For example, you may want to employ your own personal assistant (PA), providing you with support at the times you want. Alternatively, you may decide you want to use the money to buy support from a care agency. You may want to find an alternative to the types of respite support we could arrange for you or find support with local community groups or enterprises.
Who can have direct payments?
You can only have a direct payment once you have had an assessment and we agree you are eligible for certain social care services and are:
- a disabled person aged 16 years and above
- a parent of (or person with parental responsibility for) disabled children to pay for services for the family
- a carer aged 16 years and above, for services to meet the carers own assessed needs
- a disabled person with parental responsibilities for a child, for services to support their parenting role
- an appointed authorised person for someone who lacks capacity (we must agree who the authorised person is).
Who can’t have direct payments?
Those who are excluded from receiving direct payments are:
- offenders on a community order, or serving a suspended prison sentence, under the Criminal Justice Act 2003, which includes a requirement to accept treatment for drug or alcohol dependency
- an offender on a community rehabilitation order or a community punishment and rehabilitation order under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, which includes a requirement to accept treatment for drug or alcohol dependency
- offenders released from prison on licence under the Criminal Justice Act 1991, the Criminal Justice Act 2003 or the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 subject to an additional requirement to undergo treatment for drug or alcohol dependency
- people subject to equivalent provisions under Scottish criminal justice legislation.
What can direct payments be used for?
Quite simply your direct payments can be used in the best way you see fit, to meet any identified outcome or need as mentioned in your care and support plan. If you don’t have a copy of your plan, please contact your allocated social worker, the Independent Living Team or the council on 01926 410410.
When will you receive your direct payment?
We pay your direct payment four weeks in advance onto your prepaid card. The date that you will receive your direct payment changes each month because we pay you on a four-weekly basis.
If you are expected to pay a contribution towards your care and support please try and ensure that this follows this schedule, as much as is practically possible.
Arranging your direct payments
Direct payment agreement
You, your representative or an authorised person will need to sign to agree to the terms and conditions before the direct payment can start. Please take time to read through the agreement so you understand what is required. Your allocated worker can go through this with you and can make a referral for further support if required.
Prepaid card account
The council have agreed you meet the conditions to have a direct payment. This will be paid to you on a prepaid card.
Bank mandate form
If you are receiving a one-off direct payment we will require the details of the bank account where the funds need to be paid. Please fill out the bank mandate form you will have received from the council and return it to the address detailed in the letter you will receive following the agreement for a direct payment.
You may be asked to open a separate bank account to receive the direct payment funds, but you do not need to do so until you have decided that you would like to try direct payments.
If you have any difficulty with opening a bank account to receive the direct payment funds, your allocated worker can provide a supporting letter. You can take this letter with you when you go to the bank to explain what you need. Your allocated worker will complete this letter with your details on your behalf.