You can choose to arrange your own care and ask Devon County Council (DCC) for help towards the cost of that care. If eligible, the money we send you is called a direct payment. The amount of money we provide will be based on your social care needs assessment, which will have used typical costs to calculate an approximate amount of money called an estimated personal budget.
This estimated personal budget is to help you plan. Once you have identified the actual costs of your care this will become your actual personal budget, and clearly identify the amount you will receive as a direct payment. If you receive other services these will be shown separately, for example, because you attend a day centre that we pay direct.
Jo’s social worker has agreed that Jo needs help to get ready for work and prepare meals. Jo has asked for a direct payment to recruit a personal assistant and the social worker has agreed an estimated budget of £135 per week.
Jo finds that the money is not enough to attract any applicants and Jo asks the social worker for more money. The social worker knows that it is hard to find a personal assistant where Jo lives and authorises an additional £20 per week. This total £155 per week becomes Jo’s actual budget.
A financial assessment will tell you how much you must pay us – we call this a contribution. This contribution must be paid from your own private bank account, you can’t use your direct payment to pay your contribution.
Jo’s actual budget of £155 per week is the amount used to calculate Jo’s contribution, which Jo pays from their personal funds.
What can I use a direct payment for?
A direct payment is intended to give you flexibility and control to meet your own care needs. You may want to do things differently from the way a care agency provides a service, however, it’s important that you only use a direct payment to meet the outcomes as described as eligible for support from us in your assessment.
Jo wants support to go to a leisure centre once a week, however the assessment says that the money should be used to get ready for work and prepare meals. So the money can’t be used for this purpose.
If you’re unsure if your own plans would be considered by us as an appropriate and cost-effective way to meet your needs, we would recommend you talk things through with one of our social care assessors. We will give you the contact details of who to talk to about your own personal needs and plans in your assessment.
If you are interested in having direct payments
Our Arranging Support Team can talk to you about your options and can provide support, suggestions and signposting for many aspects of your direct payment.
You can get further support and information from Adult Social Care by calling 0345 1551 007 or by emailing:
- East: ASTSelfdirectedsupporteast@devon.gov.uk
- North: ASTSelfdirectedsupportnorth@devon.gov.uk
- South: ASTSelfdirectedsupportsouth@devon.gov.uk
What happens next?
If you’d like to have a direct payment, talk to your care manager about your plans. If we agree they are an appropriate and cost-effective way to meet your assessed eligible needs, we’ll send you an agreement to sign and send back to us.
It’s important you read the terms and conditions that come with the agreement because you are taking responsibility for managing your own care and using the money for agreed purposes. If you spend the money on something to which we have not agreed, you may be asked to pay the money back.
You may have decided to become an employer for a personal assistant and being an employer has responsibilities for the employee’s welfare and fair treatment, along with having to ensure that tax and pension contributions are made.
A direct payment is not considered a benefit and will not affect any other benefits you receive. It is not the same as direct payments from the Department for Work and Pensions or Universal Credits. The Direct Payments Team can provide more information on this, or you can get advice from an independent agency like Citizens Advice Bureau.
We also have a Direct Payments policy which explains in detail how the process works.
More information on personal budgets and direct payments can be found on the Age UK website.
There are some good short videos on the Living Options website.
Ginny and Katie’s stories will help you understand what is possible with self-directed support and what managing a direct payment might involve.
All the films can be found on the Living Options Devon YouTube channel.
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