Direct payments from social services are payments made to you or the person you’re looking after so that you can buy care services for yourself.
Direct payments aim to give you more flexibility in how your services are provided. By giving you money instead of social care services, you have greater choice and control over your life and are able to make your own decisions about how your care is delivered.
How to get direct payments
The decision to award direct payments takes place after an assessment by social services. This could be:
Social services will also undertake financial assessment when reviewing care needs.
If the outcome is that services will be provided, you or the person you’re looking after have a right to ask for direct payments instead of having the service arranged by social services.
If you’re already getting support from social services, you can ask to get direct payments instead.
Janet has a community care assessment. It results in a care plan that indicates that she needs the help of a care worker for six hours a week. Her local authority could either arrange to send its own choice of care worker or give Janet direct payments so that she can employ a worker of her own choice.
Choosing direct payments
In most cases, social services must offer you or the person you’re looking after direct payments as an option. You can find more information about this below in the section Who can have direct payments?
If someone isn’t able to manage their own direct payments, it’s possible for another person to manage the direct payments on their behalf. This is explained below in the section on Managing direct payments for someone else.
It’s possible to try direct payments by asking social services for a direct payment for some of your support while you continue to get your other support directly from social services.
Managing direct payments
Care Concern NW Ltd can manage your direct payments at no extra cost.
When you or the person you’re looking after receive direct payments, there will be various obligations. These include:
- Keeping records and accounting for how the money is spent to social services.
- Taking on the legal role of an employer if you’re using the payment to pay for a care worker, and undertaking all the legal responsibilities that go with it. Help may be available from local organisations to manage the administration involved and other responsibilities.
You should be able to get support with managing direct payments if you need it. See Help managing direct payments, below, for more information.
Direct payments can only be spent on things that will meet the assessed needs of the person getting them. If you spend a direct payment on something that doesn’t meet your needs, social services can recover the money from you.
Everyone who gets support from social services should have their needs reassessed at least once a year. If someone’s needs have changed, they should contact social services for a reassessment.
Social services can charge for some services that they provide. This means that if you get direct payments, you may need to make a financial contribution towards the direct payment. Your local social services should tell you if you’ll need to contribute, and how much.
Benefits of using an agency
- All tax and national insurance issues regarding care workers are dealt with by us
- All care is covered- due to holidays and sick leave
- All accounts/transactions are recorded correctly for Audit purposes
- Wages and processing of wages to the carers are handled by us
- All DBS checks and insurance is covered by us