About Direct Payments

About Direct Payments

What is a direct payment?

A direct payment is money made available by the council to individuals assessed as eligible for social care services. You can choose to take a direct payment instead of the traditional support package from the council. The aim of a direct payment is to give more flexibility in how services are provided. It also means you will have greater choice and control over how your support is delivered.

Why choose a direct payment?

Direct payments give people more choice, control and flexibility in relation to their care.
You can choose who delivers your care. For example this could be a family member, friend, or neighbour.
You can choose when you receive care. For example many people find local authority or agency care is not available at the times when they need it. Under a direct payment you receive your care exactly when you choose.

Who can have a direct payment?

You can only get direct payments if you have been assessed by the council as needing care and support services or you are the carer of someone needing these services. Direct payments are available for people of any age. You may also be able to take up a direct payment if you receive a Personal Health Budget from the CCG or have an Education Health and Care Plan.

How do I get a direct payment?

You should ask the council for an assessment to see if you are eligible for social or health care support. During this assessment, you can ask for a direct payment. If you already receive a council-managed service, you can ask at any time for this to be changed to a direct payment.

How much money will I get?

The direct payment package you are offered will be based on your own individual needs. There is no set amount, or minimum or maximum number of hours or amount of money.
A care manager will do an assessment of your needs. This will identify what is important in your life, what you can do for yourself, and what you are unable to do without support. Other professionals such as an occupational therapist may be involved if necessary. Any informal care you receive from family or friends will also be taken into account.
The social worker or care manager will identify your care needs and work out how much time these activities take and base your support plan on this.

What can I use my direct payment for?

You can use your direct payment to employ a Personal Assistant, to pay for services from an agency, day centre, therapy or similar, or you can even buy equipment. Whatever option you choose, must meet your care and support needs as outlined in your support plan. If you want to use your direct payment for anything not agreed in your support plan, you must speak to your social worker first.

What are my responsibilities under direct payments?

You will need to sign a Direct Payment Agreement with Lambeth Council or the CCG that agrees to you using your direct payment money for the care set out in your support plan.
If you employ a Personal Assistant you will also have responsibilities as an employer. These can include arranging Employers’ Liability Insurance, payroll, registering with HMRC, understanding employee entitlements and being a good employer. We can support you with these responsibilities.

How are direct payments funded?

The funding for Direct Payments can come from 3 sources: a local authority, a local Care Commissioning Group, or a self-funder (someone using their own money to recruit personal assistants or buy services). A local authority will fund a Direct Payment for social care needs. A CCG will fund a Direct Payment for health needs. Some people are able to self-fund their own care through savings or a compensation payment.