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  • Direct Payments

    Be in Control of your Care

    Most social care services and local authorities are encouraging more and more people to opt and apply for direct payments, giving you control of your care. You have control of who you employ to provide you with the personal care and how you want that care delivered.  If you are not happy with the care provider you can easily change and replace with another provider.

    Less red tape and delays in your care provision

    What are Direct Payments?

    Direct payments are local Health and Social Care (HSC) Trust payments for people who have been assessed as needing help from social services, and who would like to arrange and pay for their own care and support services instead of receiving them directly from the local trust.

    You are given your own budget for a specific period. The local authority off course will monitor regularly how you are using the money.

    Who can apply for Direct Payments?

    Direct payments are normally available if you: if you have been assessed as needing services under health and personal social services legislation, have a disability and are aged 16 or over (including disabled parents) are a carer aged 16 or over, including people with parental responsibility for a child with disabilities.


    How can I apply for Direct Payments?

    If you are receive care services already, ask your local council or care services about direct payments.

    If you are apply for care services for the first time, you will need to contact your local social care services or social worker who should discuss the direct payments option with you when they assess your care needs.

    You can apply directly via Gov.uk 

    If you need support to apply - ask a family member to help you with the application

    You can approach your local Mind services or other local charity services

    You can approach your local Citizen Advise Bureau [CAB]

    Your allocated key worker or care co-ordinator can also help you with the application

    You can also get support and advise to manage direct payments via the Disability Rights UK or from your local authority.


    Next Step…

    If you’ve qualified and opted to receive direct payments, the next step is to work out which care and care providers and services you’d like to use. There are plenty of registered care providers in your local catchment area. You will need to search and contact a few for an assessment and quotation in your local catchment area.  You can choose Bethal Manna Care in Bexley Greenwich and the local area.

    Make sure they are registered with the CQC , check CQC ratings and reviews.

    If you can’t manage your own finances, direct payments can be paid into a trust and managed by the trustees who could be family members, friends or professionals.

    If you decide to employ a carer you will you will be deemed an employer and will need to take on the responsibilities as an employer.

    This means you will need to think about tax, National Minimum Wage, sickness and holiday pay, pension, and liability insurance. This may sound daunting, No need to panic, there are agencies or organizations that can help you navigate all this;

    • •Look at local firms who offer payroll services. They’ll handle tax and National Insurance contributions for a fee.
    • •Think about using a home care agency rather than employing someone yourself. They’ll deal with all the paperwork, including references and criminal checks, and invoice you directly.
    • •Speak to a Carers Direct helpline adviser on 0300 123 1053 if you would like help with finding local support.


    Managing your direct payments

    There are rules set out by the local authority to make sure that everyone does this in a safe and fair way.

    • You must keep receipts to show how the budget is spent and show these to social services if they ask you to.
    • You must only spend the money on care and support services that meet the specific needs agreed in your care plan.
    • If you can’t account for everything you spend, or you use the money for things not in your care plan, you could be asked to reimburse your local authority.
    • You can’t use direct payments to pay for informal care from a spouse, partner or close relative who lives with you, unless they’re registered as a carer.
    • You can’t use direct payments to pay for permanent residential accommodation, but you might be able to use them to pay for occasional short periods in residential accommodation if your council agrees that is what you need.

    The rules for direct payments vary around the country. Speak to your social worker or contact your council to find out how regional variations affect you.

    Top Tip **Always keep records of what you spend your direct payments on


    If your circumstances change, contact your council as soon as possible so that your needs can be reassessed – you might be entitled to more money.

    Alternatively, if you don’t need to spend the full amount because your condition improves temporarily, or you go into hospital, they might need to adjust and reduce your payments.

    Do not delay to inform the local authority of any change in your circumstances.


    I don’t want to continue with direct payments!

    If you decide you don’t want to manage direct payments yourself any more, your council has a legal duty to arrange services instead.

    Similarly, if the council decides you can’t manage with direct payments, they might decide to provide services directly if there isn’t anybody close to you who can take over managing the payments.