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Support for adults

Direct payments

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 DCC provides 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 the 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 DCC pays direct.

Jo’s social worker has agreed that Jo needs help to get ready for work and/or 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 Devon County Council – 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 DCC 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 DCC 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.

Are you 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 Care Direct by calling 0345 1551 007 or by emailing:

What will happen 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.

Promoting independence

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.

Do you need help to find a PA?

Are you looking to find a Personal Assistant (PA), to support you, or a family member or friend at home?

We have created an online ‘PA Shout Out’ form that will support you with this process. The form is quick and easy to complete, it will ask you what type of care or support you are looking for, in which area of Devon and what skills or qualities are required for the position.

Once you have submitted this information, we will create an anonymised advert on your behalf which will be automatically sent out to PAs registered on the PA Network. PAs who are interested in your advert, will respond direct to the contact details that you have submitted.

Complete our ‘PA Shout Out’ form.

Please be aware that PAs listed on this website are not employed by Devon County Council. A PA will either be employed by an individual who requires support or will be self-employed. The PAs on this site have not been checked by or endorsed by Devon County Council. For more information please read our terms and conditions.

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’s 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.

Use the information provided on our Devon Safeguarding Adults Partnership website to report your concern or find help and support.

Find services, groups and clubs in Devon on the Pinpoint website

Go to Pinpoint

Find advice on how to stay healthy and well on the OneSmallStep website

Go to OneSmallStep