After a care needs assessment, if the council agreed that you require care services you will receive a personal budget, you can choose to receive your personal budget as a direct payment.

This is instead of the council arranging all or some of the services for you. Direct payments should give you more choice and control over your needs.

How you can receive your direct payment

You can choose to receive your direct payment in a variety of different ways these include:

  • Prepaid Card - This is an alternative to a bank account and looks similar to a debit card.
  • Direct payment to a bank account - This is where money is paid into a high street bank account. This can be an account for the person or the person who represents them, but it must be a separate account from their normal bank account to clearly show the money being spent on care and support.
  • Virtual budget - This is when the council manages the personal budget on behalf of the person to put services in place or purchase support services from contracted providers including home care, care homes, and day services.

How you can use a direct payment

Your direct payment must be used to pay only for support agreed in your support plan.

Some of the ways a direct payment can be used include but are not limited to:

  • Paying for a day opportunity – this could be in a day centre, activities at home or taking part in activities away from home
  • Personal care
  • Carers taking a break (respite)
  • One-off pieces of equipment for social care needs
  • Employing a personal assistant (PA) to provide support

Policy and guidance