’Your life in your hands’
Do you want to be in charge of your own life and in control of your own care package?
Would you like to choose who delivers your care / support at a time that is convenient with you?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions; Direct Payments could be the answer for you.
Direct Payments promote choice; voice, control and flexibility by enabling and empowering individuals to meet their well-being outcomes as agreed in the Individual Assessment. The main objective is for individuals to be able to remain as independent, with or without support, to live in their own homes, be fully involved in family and community life, and to engage in work, education and leisure when and where possible in order to live the life they want to lead.
The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 introduced changes to how Direct Payments can be used including residential care and purchasing a service from a Local Authority. Direct Payments should always be considered when deciding how to meet an individual’s well-being outcomes and should always be discussed at the point of assessment and or review.
The principle of Direct Payments is when an individual is involved in their assessment and their well-being outcomes identified and agreed jointly with the person carrying out the assessment i.e. Social Worker.
If formal support from Social Care is required then he or she can receive the money through a Direct Payment to purchase and arrange the support themselves, instead of having it provided or arranged directly by the Local Authority.
The Local Authority must always offer Direct Payments as a choice for providing the care and support the individual may require and if the person wishes to receive a Direct Payment then the social care department must explore this method of meeting the persons care and support needs. If for any reason this method is ruled out, an alternative method to provide care and support will be offered.
Direct Payments can be made to any of the following who are assessed as having a care or support need:
- adults and young people over 16 who can make decisions for themselves
- a person with parental responsibility for a disabled child
- a disabled parent who needs support to care for their child/children
- carers aged 16 or over
- a person who is unable to make their own decisions (payments are made to a suitable person*)
*A Suitable Person is a person appointed to receive and manage Direct Payments on behalf of an individual who lacks capacity to consent to the making and receiving of the Direct Payments (provided that person is willing and meets all the conditions set out in the Regulations). The Suitable Person will often, but not always, have been given a Lasting Power of Attorney or have been appointed by the Court of Protection as a Deputy under the 2005 Act. Usually the Suitable Person will be a family member or friend who may previously have been involved in the care and support of the individual.
Our service aims to support you to set up and manage your Direct Payment with confidence so that you can get the most out of your scheme, having choice and control about how your needs are met and the care you receive.
The support we provide will be personal to you; we can provide as much or as little support as you feel you need. Here are some of the things that we help with at the start:
- we can help you start to receive your Direct Payment funding into a new bank account set up specifically for Direct Payment
- we can work with you to help you understand how to manage your Direct Payment money, how it can be used and what records you must keep
- if you want to employ a personal assistant (PA) we can help you to recruit the best person for the job
- we can work with you to help you understand what responsibilities you have as an employer
- we can work with you to register as an employer and arrange a payroll service
- we can work with you to budget your Direct Payment money and plan the amount of support you need
- we can offer information and advice about managing your staff and accessing training
- we set up peer support events and networks that you can get involved in so you can speak to other people about receiving Direct Payments
You can only get Direct Payments if you have been assessed as needing support from the Local Authority to achieve certain things (your personal outcomes) set out in the care and support plan and your Local Authority has agreed to pay for some or all of that support. You can ask the Local Authority to carry out an assessment of your needs to see if you are eligible for support and if Direct Payments is suitable for you, by contacting social services - please see the contact details on the right-hand side if this web page.
The Local Authority will make Direct Payments available to you as long as you are willing and able to manage them. The amount received will be based on the number of hours care per week required and the outcome of your financial assessment. All adults receiving community care services are assessed to see if they have to contribute towards the cost of their care. The amount payable depends on your income and the type of services you receive and is currently capped at £60 per week in Wales. If you have to make a contribution it is deducted before the Direct Payment is made.
Is the process difficult?
The basic process for a Direct Payment is as follows:
- You make a request for Direct Payment to your Local Authority
- You will have 2 Local Authority assessments (possibly at the same time). A care and support assessment to produce a care and support plan; and a financial assessment (based on national guidelines) to calculate the level of financial contribution
- A Direct Payment amount is arranged specifically for your support needs
- Direct Payments are paid into a separate bank account on a 4 weekly basis, and you arrange your own support
- You can make arrangements through an agency or directly through by employing a personal assistant
If the Local Authority has been arranging your care and support up to now, you can ask to change to Direct Payments anytime. Just ask your Social Worker or Care Manager. You don’t have to wait until the next review of your care and support plan.
If you prefer, you can use a mixture of Direct Payments and services arranged by your Local Authority.
If you change your mind about using Direct Payments, you can ask to stop at any time and ask the Local Authority to provide your support services instead.
Your local council can also stop your Direct Payments if it believes your needs are not being met with the money it pays you or if you no longer have those needs, e.g. you only needed help for a short time.
If you stop using Direct Payments and still have support needs, your social worker will make sure there is a care and support plan in place so there is no gap in your support services.
The Direct Payments Support Service provide ongoing support if you need it.
They can also provide a managed Direct Payment account.
This means that they manage the money side of things for you so that there is no need to get too involved in things like making payments to staff or paying tax.
A managed Direct Payment account can be helpful to some people, for example if:
- You have had problems managing money in the past
- You cannot get a bank account or do not want a bank account
- You simply do not have the time to manage this side of things
- Managing the money is too confusing for you
- Managing staff, creating rotas and arranging cover during holiday and sickness periods is too difficult for you
The Local Authority may feel that you need a managed account in order to receive Direct Payments; if this is the case they will arrange to provide a managed account for you and the Local Authority will pay the cost of this service.