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Direct payments for care and support

Direct Payments For Care and Support Panel

What are direct payments?

Direct payments are a way of receiving social care funding directly from the council, allowing you to manage and arrange your own care and support services. Direct payments give you the flexibility to choose the support that best meets your needs and preferences.

If the council helps to pay for your care and support you can choose to have the money as a direct payment so that you can arrange and pay for the support you need. Or you can choose a mixture of direct payments and support from us.

Direct payments give you more choice and control over your care. They won't affect your benefits, and you won't be taxed on them.

Who is eligible for direct payments??

Direct payments are available to anyone who receives adult social care services from the council. To determine your eligibility, you'll need to undergo a needs assessment with a social worker. This assessment evaluates your care needs and identifies the level of support you require.

As a general rule, the eligibility criteria are that you must be aged 18 or over, have an assessed need for social care support, and have the capacity to manage a budget or have someone who can help you (e.g., a family member).

What you can use a direct payment for

You can only use the money to pay for the support we agreed you need at your needs assessment, including:

  • a personal assistant (although you can't usually employ a family member or someone who lives with you)
  • support from an agency
  • live-in care
  • support services
  • equipment or adaptations

You cannot, however, use the money for: 

  • anything that is illegal
  • anything that would bring the council into disrepute, such as:
    • gambling 
    • alcohol 
    • drugs and other addictive substances
  • housing costs or household bills; your income or state benefits allow for these costs
  • takeaways or other food and drink

The benefits of choosing direct payments

Direct payments offer several advantages for people who require adult social care support:

  • Increased choice and control: You have the freedom to choose who delivers your care and tailor it to your specific needs and preferences.
  • Flexibility: You can decide when, where, and how your care is provided, allowing for a more personalised routine.
  • Improved quality of care: By hiring a familiar personal assistant, you can potentially build a stronger rapport and receive care that aligns with your individual preferences.
  • Empowerment: Direct payments place you in charge of your care journey, fostering a sense of independence and dignity.

Responsibilities associated with direct payments

While direct payments offer greater control, they also come with some additional responsibilities:

  • Budget management: You'll be responsible for managing your allocated budget effectively, ensuring it covers the cost of your chosen care services.
  • Employing and managing personal assistants: If you choose to hire a personal assistant, you'll be responsible for recruitment, payroll, and managing their employment. This includes ensuring they have the necessary training and qualifications.
  • Record keeping: You'll need to maintain accurate records of how your budget is spent. This includes receipts for services rendered and payroll records if you employ a personal assistant.

Who can help me?

  • The Enham Trust can help you employ a trained personal assistant and are contracted by Plymouth City Council.
  • Enham Payroll can help you pay wages and deal with tax and pension issues.

If you have any questions regarding payment for your care, please contact the Client Financial Services Team by emailing or the Direct Payments Team via

If you prefer to speak with someone, please call 01752 668000.

How you get direct payments

The council will pay the money weekly onto a pre-paid card; the amount you get will depend on your assessed care needs. You will be financially assessed to see if you should contribute to the cost of your care.  If you are assessed to contribute towards the cost of your care, you pay the contribution account into the card account to ensure there are sufficient funds to cover your care costs.

The pre-paid card is used like a debit card to pay for your support via an online portal. 

You'll need to sign an agreement to say that you'll use your direct payments to pay for the support the council agrees you need.

More information 



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