Personal budgets and direct payments
At the end of the assessment process we will tell you if you are eligible for care and support. If you are eligible for help from the Council, we will use the information you have given us during the assessment to work out roughly how much it will cost to support your needs. We will also let you know if we can help to pay for this support. If we can help to pay, we will agree an amount of money that is sufficient to meet your assessed care and support needs. We call this a personal budget.
We will then work with you to find out what things you want to change in your life and the things you want to stay the same. You will also need to tell us how you will spend your personal budget to help make these things happen. We call this a care and support plan and we will always ensure it recognises your strengths and helps increase or maintain your independence where possible.
Deciding how much choice and control you want
If you are eligible for help from the Council, you will then be able to decide how you want to spend your personal budget and how much control you want to take over your care and support. It is important that you feel comfortable with how your support is managed. There are a number of different options to choose from:
- You can ask the Council to manage your personal budget and organise your support for you
- You can ask the Council to give your personal budget to you in the form of a direct payment
- You can ask the Council to give your personal budget to someone you trust or an organisation such as a direct payment support service
- You can ask for a mixture of the above
What is a direct payment?
A direct payment is a monetary payment to help you live independently in your own home. You can use the money to buy and arrange the care and support you need. Receiving a direct payment does not affect any other benefits you may already get.
A direct payment can give you greater flexibility over the kind of support you choose and who you pay to provide this support. What you use your direct payment for will depend on your individual circumstances and the needs identified during your assessment. The money should help you look after yourself and manage everyday tasks to stay independent for longer and make sure you can continue getting out and about and accessing work or learning opportunities.
If you choose to have a direct payment you will need to sign a direct payment agreement - a contract between the Council and you, it outlines your responsibilities for spending the money you are given.
What can you spend your direct payments on?
You can use your direct payment to pay for the support that you need to meet your eligible care and support needs. The details will be set out in your care and support plan. For example, you may want to:
- Pay a care agency to support you with daily tasks
- Employ your own personal assistant
- Buy small pieces of equipment that will support your independence
- Pay for a short break away from home to give your carer a break
- Book an activity or class you enjoy, instead of going to a day centre
The services you buy have to meet the goals agreed in your care and support plan and they need to be legal, affordable and safe.
Where to get more information and advice
Vibrance provide a range of information and advice about direct payments. They can also manage your direct payment for you and support you with recruitment and payroll if you decide to employ a personal assistant.
For more information: