Personal budgets

Different ways to manage your personal budget

When you have had an assessment, if you meet the criteria, you will be offered a personal budget. You will be able to choose how you take this.

  • Direct payments - a budget paid to you in cash, usually on a prepaid card. A prepaid card is like a bank card and you can spend up to the limit to meet the needs you have been assessed as needing.
  • Virtual budget - this is where you ask the council to manage your budget for you and they work with you to set up your support. The council will buy support services from contracted providers including home care, day services and care homes.
  • Mixed approach - this is where you want to take some of your personal budget as a direct payment and the rest as a virtual budget.

Taking a direct payment means that you will have more control over the support in your life, but it also means that you and people who support you will have additional responsibilities. Using a prepaid card will help you to keep records of what you have spent

Many people use direct payments to employ a personal assistant to help them in their life. You can even pay a friend or relative to support you as long as they don’t live in the same house as you. If you have a personal assistant, you will also have to consider the advantages and disadvantages of becoming an employer. Some people use direct payments to pay for a service from an organisation/provider.

Respite personal budget

As part of the assessment process you will be informed if you are eligible for respite care. If you are eligible you will be allocated a number of days which will be calculated as a personal budget.

As with your personal budget for your day to day support needs, you can choose how you would like to access your respite budget; this could be as a direct payment, virtual budget or a mixed approach. The option you take will depend on how you would like to use your respite budget.