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Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

If after you have been given the opportunity to regain your independence through a period of home care reablement, more support is needed, we will arrange for an assessment of your needs to be carried out by a Social Workers. They will discuss your needs with you and your carer or representatives and will complete a simple questionnaire to understand your care needs and to see if you are eligible for further support from the Council. 

If you are eligible, you will be given a Personal Budget to assist you with your care needs. You then decide how to use the money to organise the support to meet your needs and the outcome you want to achieve. 

The majority of people will receive their personal budget via a Direct Payment paid onto a Prepaid Card as this offers you real choice and control over how your needs are met, instead of adult social care services arranging the support for you. A Prepaid Card is similar to a debit card and is a secure and convenient way for you to receive your money so that you can pay providers, suppliers and employees for the support and care you need. More information is available in our factsheet about prepaid cards. 

About direct payments 

A direct payment is one of the ways to receive your personal budget and gives you the greatest level of choice and control over the services you receive. The benefits of using direct payments are: 

  • You have greater choice and flexibility over how and when your support needs are met
  • You have more control over your life and the way you choose to live it
  • You can choose support that helps you to remain more independent
  • You can choose who provides your care 

Your direct payment will be paid onto a prepaid card offering you greater flexibility to arrange your support. 

If you receive a direct payment, you take responsibility for arranging your services, managing your money and employing staff where required. You can get help to do this from our support service, whose details you will be given if you decide to opt for direct payments. 

Direct payments are also available to the parents of children with disabilities who have been assessed as eligible to receive services.

Direct payments are optional

However we strongly recommend direct payments as research shows that people who receive their money in this way live independently for longer. If we say you are eligible to receive services paid for by the Council, you can either choose to take up direct payments or we can arrange the services for you. It is also possible to have your needs met by a mixture of both.

What direct payments can be used for

A direct payment can only be used on items and services that are legal and that will meet your eligible assessed needs.

For example 

  • Employ their own personal assistants to enable them to live as independently as possible and enable some respite for people who provide regular care for them
  • Pay for support services from agencies
  • Access social or community activities

What direct payments cannot be used 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

You don't need to keep receipts 

Using the prepaid card means that you do not need to keep so much paperwork as we can monitor the use of the card online however, we ask that you keep hold of your receipts in case we have a query about the way you have used your money.

We can help you manage your direct payments 

Help is available through our support services, they can help you to recruit your own staff, this can include, advertising, interviewing, contracts of employment, how much to pay.  

Who can receive a direct payment 

Anyone who is eligible for support from the Council and has a personal budget can receive their money as a direct payment. If someone is identified as not being able to manage their financial affairs or there is a risk of financial abuse we will seek to find a suitable adult from their network of friends and family to manage the direct payment of the person’s behalf.

Direct payments don't affect your benefits  

Your entitlement to benefits like Income Support or Disability Living Allowance will be the same.

How you get direct payments

We'll pay the money weekly onto a pre-paid card - the amount you get will depend on your financial assessment. If you pay towards the cost of your care you can top-up your card with your contribution, and then use your card just like a debit card to pay for your care. Or you can pay your contribution to your care provider directly.

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

Email gateway@plymouth.gov.uk or call 01752 668000.

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