The support can be delivered in several different ways, but self-directed support is where the person takes responsibility for managing their own support arrangements.
A direct payment is one form of self-directed support. Other types of self-directed support include:
- a mix of direct payments and commissioned care
- a budget managed by a 3rd party
A direct payment is money paid directly to you so that you can choose, arrange, and pay for your own care and support, giving you flexibility and control.
You can be flexible about what you spend your direct payment on, but you must use it to meet the outcomes as agreed in your support plan, which you will be given a copy of.
If you are unsure about how to use your direct payment, you can ask for clarification from your social care assessor who completes your support plan.
What can I use a direct payment for?
It is important that you only use a direct payment to meet your outcomes as outlined in your care and support plan.
You could choose to use a direct payment to purchase personal care from a care agency, to employ a personal assistant, to purchase replacement care and short breaks, or for something else that meets the outcomes as specified in your care and support plan.
If you are eligible, the care manager who completes your needs assessment will explain direct payments, how they work, and will give you information to read. Further information on self-directed support.
You can then take time to decide what you want to do.
You may also be offered support from the Arranging Support Team. The team can offer advice and support in the first instance and will ensure that you understand the responsibility of taking a direct payment.
You must want to have a direct payment, be able to manage your care and support arrangements and keep information about how the money is used. If you choose to take up a direct payment, you will be asked to sign an agreement with Devon County Council.
If you would like a direct payment, but you are not able to manage your direct payment, you can ask someone else to manage it for you. This could be a family member, friend or another suitable person who knows you well and will manage the direct payment in your best interest.
You can also request independent, third-party provider support with a financial administration service, for example, if you need help calculating tax and National Insurance payments when you employ a personal assistant.
This used to be called a ‘managed account’ but we are now calling it a ‘financial administration service’.
You can also have direct payments if you are:
- a carer who has been assessed as needing support in your own right
- the parent of a child with a disability assessed as needing support in looking after your child.
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.
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.
You can get further support and information from Care Direct by calling 0345 1551 007 or by emailing:
- East: ATSSelfdirectedsupporteast@devon.gov.uk
- North: ATSSelfdirectedsupportnorth@devon.gov.uk
- South: ATSSelfdirectedsupportsouth@devon.gov.uk
We also have a Direct Payments policy which explains in detail how the process works.
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.
Devon’s personal assistant (PA) network
Devon County Council has a PA network, where you can find useful information about employing a PA. You can use the network to search for a PA in your local area and you can also list an advert to show that you are looking for a PA.
The Devon Card
If you choose to take a direct payment, it will normally be paid to you using the Devon Card.
The Devon Card is a safe and efficient way to pay for services, for people who manage their own support using direct payments.
It is a ‘pre-loaded’ card that works in a similar way to a bank debit card. However, it does not offer credit or an overdraft. Money must be loaded onto the card before you can spend it, and you can only spend what has been loaded onto the card.
You won’t need to set up a bank account for your direct payments, you won’t need to send in statements and we will have greater opportunity to help you get the support you need.
The following cardholder guide contains everything you need to know about using the card and will give you a better idea of how useful it can be.
Keeping people safe
Everyone has the right to feel safe and it is important that you know how to find help if you are at risk yourself, or concerned about someone else.