What is a Direct Payment?
When direct payments were introduced by the government, they were designed to enable people to take control of their care and create a more personalised society.
Direct payments are amounts of money from the local authority 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 at home.
This enables people to have more choice and control over their care, either by approaching a professional care agency or by employing friends and family to be their personal assistants.
This is an alternative to accepting local authority arranged and provided services.
Who can get a direct payment?
Anyone who has been assessed by the local authority and has an eligible care need and therefore requires care services has the right to request a direct payment instead of having those services provided by their local authority. People who can receive direct payments include:
- Older people who have been assessed as needing community care services
- Disabled people aged 16 and over, including those with short as well as long term needs
- Carers, in place of receiving carers services
- Families with disabled children
- Disabled parents
If you are already receiving services from the local authority you can switch to direct payments by requesting this change from your local authority or social worker. HCD would be happy to assist you in making this change.
You do not have to have a direct payment, it is always the choice of the person receiving care and support whether to receive a direct payment or not. If you’d prefer, you can continue getting services direct from your local authority and social services.
In some cases direct payments can be paid into a managed account on your behalf. This could be a trust account set up by friends or family or a HCD individually managed account which we can set up on your behalf, free of charge. This account will be used to pay wages, tax and for any other services you have chosen to receive.
Children under 16 cannot receive direct payments in their own right but they can be paid to their parents who can manage the direct payment on the child’s behalf. When a parent chooses direct payments the local authority still has responsibility under the Children Act 1989 to assess and review the needs of the disabled child and family.
What can direct payments be spent on?
Direct payments are used to buy services (including equipment) that you are assessed as needing. Local authority social services set out what the money can and cannot be used for. Mainly people use direct payments to pay personal assistants or pay a care agency.
How much will my direct payment be?
The amount depends on the needs of the person who requires care. Local authorities should pay enough to cover the support that you have been assessed as needing, and you should not find yourself doing without services because you cannot afford them. If you are offered a direct payment and feel that the money offered is not enough, then you do not have to accept it and can appeal this decision with the local authority.
Does receiving a direct payment mean me being an employer?
No, if the money is used to employ a care agency then they will have responsibility for all employment rules and procedures for the staff providing care.
However, if you choose and take on staff directly, then you would be classed as an employer, with all the responsibilities and legal requirements that come with this.
With HCD you get the best of both worlds. You can choose their own personal assistants, decide when they come to provide care and we will employ them for you, managing all the paperwork, training, recruitment and employment responsibilities on your behalf.
What is an individual budget?
You may also hear the term individual budget. This is a development of the idea of direct payments and pools different streams of funding for a person’s social care into one pot. So as well as the money for direct payments it could include money from NHS/PCT sources for health needs.
If you would like to find out more about HomeCareDirect services, feel free to give us a call on 0845 0619000, we’ll be happy to help!