Direct payments is money given directly to you to arrange your own care or to employ personal assistants and is given to people whose needs have been assessed as being eligible for services. Direct payments offer the choice and flexibility to manage your own care arrangements. The services you can buy are services that would otherwise be provided by the adult social care service. They are services that you have been assessed as needing when you have had a needs assessment.
Who can get direct payments?
With a few exceptions the following people can apply for direct payments:
- Any adult (18 or over) who qualifies for support from social services
- Disabled young people aged 16 or 17
- Carers of any of the people listed above
- Carers or parents of disabled children
As long as you or a nominated person (a suitable person), are capable of understanding your role as an employer, and are able to manage the financial aspects of the direct payments, then you should qualify to apply for a direct payment.
However, if social services believe this is not the most appropriate way to meet your needs, this will be discussed with you and alternative services will be offered.
Applying for direct payments
To be considered for a direct payment you need to have an assessment in the same way as you would for any social care service.
If you already receive services from social services, contact your social worker to talk about direct payments or contact the Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) Team. If you have not received services from us before you will need to contact us for a needs assessment. We can then find out if you are eligible for help.
What can direct payments be used for?
The money you recieve through direct payments can be used to pay for any of the following:
- To employ someone directly to help with your care (a personal assistant)
- To buy care from a private registered care agency
- To make your own arrangements instead of using social services day care or respite care
You can buy any of the above services, provided that they are in your care plan agreed with your social worker. The money you receive is to enable you to get the support that you need.
Things you need to consider
- You cannot normally use direct payments to pay your partner or spouse or a close relative that you live with.
- You can receive a mixture of social services provision and direct payments.
- You or your nominated person (suitable person) are in charge of managing the money and keeping records to show it has been spent in the right way.
- You or your nominated person (suitable person) will become an employer and will need to comply with employment law. You will be provided with support and guidance on how to fulfill this role.
- Once you start direct payments you will be expected to participate in regular reviews to check that they are meeting your needs and the money is being spent appropriately.
- Social services will pay money into a separate bank account which you will need to set up.
- You may have to pay a contribution towards your direct payments or services and will be assessed under the ‘Fairer Charging Policy’.
- Receiving direct payments will not affect your benefits because the money remains the property of the council and not classed as your own personal income.
- Caerphilly social services have a dedicated team of support staff. They can provide you with free information, advice and support. They can also provide practical help with tasks such as recruiting, employing staff and teaching you to manage the paperwork. They can also signpost you to specialist advisory services in respect of tax, national insurance and employment law.
If you would like any further information about direct payments contact Information, Advice and Assistance (IAA) Team