Direct payments explained. Simply.
Direct payments simply means that you pay for your own care and support services directly from the money given to you by your local council. Doing this not only helps you regain your independence, but allows for your own part and decision in your choice of care.
What are direct payments?
If you don’t currently receive funding you will need to contact your local council to be assessed. The decision of how much you will be receive depends on a number of factors including financial situation, your current health and the care you require. Once you have been assessed and your funding is agreed by the Social Care Trust you will then be given two options.
- the council providing the services directly to you,
- or receiving direct payments from the council, allowing you to arrange and pay for your care and support services yourself
If the council is currently providing services directly to you and you want to receive Direct Payments, talk to your local council to discuss changing how you receive your funding.
How do direct payments work?
Direct payments go straight into a separate banking account – however that money can’t be spent on just anything. The council will need to know that the money is being used towards the care needs that were assessed and agreed previously in your care plan.
This care plan is written between you and your health care professional or the social services which will help to decide what is needed to help maintain your health and your well-being on a daily basis. The care plan is reviewed annually and can be changed if it’s not working for you, or if there are life changes – such as house moves, that affect the help you need.
Are Direct Payments for everyone?
There is the opportunity of Direct Payments for anyone that receives funding from the Social Care Trust. There are a number of things to go through before deciding Direct Payments are for you. If
- you want to take control of your own care and support services
- you want more choice in selecting the services and care-workers that meet your specific needs
- you’re confident with money and paperwork or have people to support you with this
Then direct payments could be for you.
Direct payments may not be for you if
- you’re uncomfortable about being an employer. Although you take control of your care, you may need to manage the people who care for you. There is help however to make this easier and more simple for you.
- you’re not confident about keeping careful records or receipts and keeping documentation of this. Once again there is help available to help with this.
- you spend frequent or long periods of time in hospital
You may be happy to let your local authority provide the services for you, but Direct Payments allow you have more independence and control over your care if you want to. It’s important your are happy with the care provided and that it works for you. Here are some experiences from people that have benefited greatly from Direct Payments.
‘My independence levels have just gone up and up.’
Mark Lynes – Direct Payments Users
‘My son’s quite quirky and because we can employ people that relate to him and build up trust he does lead a better life.’
Sandra Lillet – Parent of Direct Payment User
Skills Tank can help you go through your options and make your decision. Many of the people we have worked with have found that Direct Payments gives them more freedom to go to clubs, work experience and meet other people – it gives you the choice to decide what is most important for your health – both mental and physical and your wellbeing and happiness day to day.
Find out more about direct payments at www.mycareinbirmingham.org.uk