About Direct Payments

direct paymentsIn most cases, if you or the person you’re looking after are assessed and social services decide you need support services they must offer you the option of getting direct payments to buy those services yourself instead of having them arranged for you.

Put simply, direct payment is a cash payment from social services which allows you to have more control over the services you receive.

Most people receiving social services from the council have a right to direct payments.

You will need to have a care assessment to identify your needs, and then you can choose to receive the money and pay for services yourself. This means you can choose the exact service you want, when you want it and who provides it to you.

Direct Payments are not means tested and will not affect your other benefits. They are not taxable and the money is paid directly into your bank account on a monthly basis.

Previously, people deemed to lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions couldn’t get direct payments. Since 2009, it’s been possible for a “suitable person” to receive and manage a direct payment on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity.

There are very limited situations when social services don’t have a duty to offer direct payments. This applies to:

If someone is assessed as being eligible for support and it’s not possible for them to get direct payments, social services must provide support directly.

Consenting to direct payments

You or the person you’re looking after have to be able to consent to direct payments to receive them. It is voluntary and you do not have to choose direct payments unless you want to.

To give consent, a person doesn’t have to understand completely how direct payments work. It is enough that a person understands that direct payments would give them the opportunity to make choices for themselves.

Giving consent is not the same as being able to manage the direct payments alone. If someone is capable of giving consent to have the choice of direct payments, they may still need support to manage the direct payments.

For more information about direct payments click here

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