What can I use a direct payment for?
You can use the direct payment to pay a care agency to provide you directly with services, or employ your own staff. Having your own budget allows you to design your own service that fits your choices and needs and buy equipment that better fits your lifestyle.
You can also arrange your own respite care to offer you or your carer a break. You must spend your direct payment on things that your assessment shows that you need. You can’t use your direct payment to:
- Buy services directly from the local authority
- Pay for long term residential care
- Pay for anything that does not meet your agreed needs
- Pay for something that is illegal
- Buy something that should be provided by the NHS
- Pay someone who lives in the same household as you (unless there are exceptional circumstances).
Here are some examples of how direct payments could help you:
Choose your carer
You could choose your own home carer rather than having whoever is sent to you by the council: “The carers sent by the agency were always very nice but I would never know who was going to turn up. Now I use my direct payments to employ a lady I know from down the road to help me get up and go to bed. I still use the agency for some calls and for cover.”
Organise your timetable
You could arrange for your home carer to come at different times to suit what you want to do: “Although I have care needs I still work. I found that when my job required me to have an early start it was often difficult to reorganise my care from its usual time in the morning, if it was short notice it was impossible. I still have my regular care from the care agency but I use my direct payment to pay a friend when I need an early ‘get up’.”
Arrange holiday cover
If you are a carer and are going on holiday, you could arrange for the person you look after to stay at home rather than having to go into a residential home: “When I went away for a break my husband used to go into a local residential home for a short stay. The home was nice but not really his cup of tea. Now we have a direct payment and we organise a short term care package at home for him so that he gets to stay at home and I get my break.”
Choose the equipment you want
If you have been assessed as needing a piece of equipment to help you and you would like a different model or style: “We wanted a more portable hoist so we could take it with us when we stayed with our daughter. We got a direct payment equal to the cost of the hoist that Social Care would provide and topped it up with some money of our own so that we could buy a more portable model.”
If you require any further information please contact the Independent Living Team or Payroll Team on 01925 240064.