Money management options
How much you want to be involved in managing your budget is up to you. There are different options to choose from:
1) Council managed
The council holds your budget and organises support on your behalf, using those service providers who have a contract with the council.
2a) Self managed
The council pays your budget into your account and you purchase support to meet your needs.
You may get assistance from a trusted friend or family member to help you manage the budget.
You may also choose to get help with payroll or budget management from professional organisations. These are typically known as direct payment support providers.
2b) Third party managed (Managed Account Provider (MAP)
The council pays your budget to a third party. This could be an individual or organisation.
They will hold the budget for you and makes payments to support providers under your instruction and on your behalf. They will also provide monitoring information to the council about how your budget has been spent.
If an individual or organisation holds your money as well as providing the support you need, such as homecare, then they are called a Managed Account Provider (MAP)
If an individual or organisation holds your money as well as providing the support you need and purchasing additional support from other services for you, they are known as an Individual
Service Fund (ISF)
A combination of any of the above budget options
What are direct payments?
Direct payments are cash payments given to you by the council. This enables you to arrange and pay for your own support, rather than the council arranging services for you.
Direct payments mean that you make the key decisions about who supports you and how this support is provided.
Why choose direct payments?
The direct payments scheme was introduced to enable people to have more choice about how they receive assistance from the council.
Direct payments put you in control because you are the best person to decide what support you need to live as safely and independently as possible.
Choosing this option means that you can make choices about what type of support would improve your wellbeing and quality of life. It also offers more choice than a traditional support package managed by the council.
Who can get direct payments?
Direct payments are an option for all people who are assessed as having eligible social care needs. This may include:
- People with physical and learning disabilities
- People with mental health issues or long term illnesses
- Older people
- Parents of children with disabilities to meet their child’s needs
What can direct payments be used for?
Direct payments may be used to meet any of your eligible social care outcomes, which are identified during your outcome based assessment.
For example, you may use the money to buy:
- Support with personal care and daily living tasks
- Support to get out and about in the community
- Support to maximise your independence, health, wellbeing and safety
You could employ a Personal Assistant (PA) of your choice to help you, or you may use the money to buy one-off equipment or support services from an agency
If you feel this kind of support would help you, take care to choose a worker that is registered and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
What can direct payments not be used for?
You are not generally allowed to use direct payments to:
- Purchase support from your spouse or partner, or someone who lives in the same household as you
- Pay for long-term residential placements
How Much Money Will I Get?
Direct payments are based on the amount and type of care that your eligible needs require. This will be assessed by a social worker in the outcome based assessment. The council will calculate a reasonable cost for the care you need and tell you how much this is. This is known as your indicative budget.
After you have identified what you would like to achieve, you can decide what services and support you want to use to meet your eligible needs. This forms the basis of your costed support plan.
The total of your support plan may be the same cost, higher or lower than your indicative budget.
After you agree this with the council, the amount becomes your approved Personal Budget.
The council will also assess how much you can afford to pay towards the cost of your support. This is known as your social care contribution:
- Find out more about Fairer Contribution Guide
How will the direct payments be paid?
You will need to open a separate bank account for your direct payments.
The agreed direct payments amount is paid into your account every four weeks in advance and you will be advised of these regular dates.
How does the council monitor the use of the money?
You will be required to keep records of how you are using your direct payments. This allows you to demonstrate that you are spending the money to meet your eligible needs.