A personal budget is the amount of money the council allocates for your care, based on an assessment of your needs.

What a personal budget is

Only people eligible for social care and support can access a personal budget.

Personal budgets are used to pay for the care services you require to meet the care needs identified in your care needs assessment.

How to get a personal care budget from the council

Before the council can allocate you a personal budget, you will need to be assessed twice: first for your care needs and second for your financial situation. You cannot be allocated a care budget unless both assessments have taken place.

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How you can spend your personal budget

You can use personal budgets for different kinds of support as long as they meet your assessed needs or agreed outcomes identified in your support plan.

Below are some examples of things that you could spend your personal budget on:

  • Employing support workers or personal assistants
  • Employing family members or friends (as long as they don't live with you)
  • Buying services from an agency or organisation, for example domiciliary care, membership of clubs, educational activities
  • Transport expenses
  • Respite care

You can read more on how you can use your personal budget on the Age UK website:

What you can't spend your personal budget on

  • Things that are not directly related to your care and support
  • Employing immediate family members who live in the same house as you
  • Anything that is provided free by another service, such as the NHS
  • Residential or nursing care (excluding respite care for up to four consecutive weeks in any 12 month period)
  • Gambling, alcohol and tobacco
  • Anything illegal (including paying people ‘cash in hand’)
  • Paying debts, ordinary household bills, food, and rent or mortgage
  • Things that do not represent value for money (such as when there is a valid cheaper alternative)

Different ways to manage your personal budget

When you have been allocated your personal budget, you can choose to have it managed in one (or a combination) of the management options below:

  • Direct payments - you are given your budget as a direct payment and organise any care and support yourself. You can also have your direct payment loaded onto a pre-paid card
  • Virtual budget - the council will manage your budget and support services on your behalf.
  • Mixed approach - where you would like to take some of your personal budget as a direct payment and the rest as a virtual budget.