What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are payments of cash made by a Local Authority or the NHS to disabled and older people and family carers. These are a way of you meeting your own support needs instead of the Local Authority or the NHS providing services to you. You need to have an assessment carried out by a Local Authority social worker or an NHS continuing care nurse. The assessment will show whether you are eligible for a Direct Payment and what you can use it for.

Who can get a Direct Payment?

  • Older people
  • People with learning disabilities
  • People using mental health services
  • People with physical disabilities and sensory impairment
  • Informal and family carers
  • Children and families
  • Parents of disabled children
  • Young carers aged 16 and over
  • People with HIV and AIDS
  • An appointed suitable person

What can Direct Payments be used for?

  • To employ a Personal Assistant who can support you with personal and domestic tasks, personal care, some elements of healthcare, accessing social and leisure activities, getting to work and parenting tasks
  • To pay for accommodation to go on a short break or to pay for a Personal Assistant to support you. Alternatively to pay for support to enable you to stay at home while your informal carer (e.g. spouse) takes a break
  • To enable you to purchase and participate in activities such as swimming or horse riding
  • To purchase support from a Care Agency

N.B. Direct payments cannot be used for urgent or acute (hospital) healthcare, GP services, housing services such as paying rent or to buy Local Authority services such as home care or day care.

Are you eligible to use Direct Payments?

If you or the person you are caring for has been assessed by the Local Authority or NHS as needing social care services, you may be able to have some of these services paid to you as a Direct Payment. An assessment is a discussion with you about your needs and involves gathering information from people who know you well such as a carer, family member, doctor or community nurse. You will be fully involved with your assessment and will have the opportunity to make your views know.

There are specific criteria that will be considered in the assessment of your needs to identify whether you are eligible for a service or Direct Payment from the county council or the NHS.

NB: If you are assessed as needing NHS Continuing Health Care you have the right to ask for a Direct Payment. SIL works closely with the Integrated Care Board (ICB) to ensure you can receive the support services you need should you choose to employ your own support staff.

Click here to see the range of services to support people using Direct Payments.

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