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Direct payments policy amendments after review

We are now moving into a new phase of managing coronavirus (COVID-19) as a live virus in the community. Our policy revisions have taken these changes into consideration the impacts of lockdowns and any subsequent easing of restrictions.

You can find the current COVID-19 direct payment policy here. The following are a record of the changes and revisions that have been made since April 2020.

Existing policy changes and revisions

Existing policy change at April 2020: There will be a suspension in the retrieval of excess funds during the time for which this policy is in place.
Revision at November 2020: From 1st September 2020, we reinstated the retrievals of excess funds. A retrieval has now been completed and a further retrieval is planned for February 2021. Parent carers will receive a notice of this in writing if they are affected.

Existing policy change at April 2020: You can pay any member of your family to care for your child during this time, however, this cannot be a person with parental responsibility. The person must be over the age of 18 years old. This must also be in line with, and take account of, the government’s guidance on self-isolation for vulnerable people. If you seek to employ anyone else, it must be done in line with employment processes (i.e. a contract, payroll etc). For support with this please contact our Direct Payment Coordinators.
Revision at November 2020: As from 14th September 2020, we moved back in line with the Disabled Children (Direct Payments) (England) Regulations 2001 which do not allow payment of family members. (This was temporarily relaxed due to the strict Covid-19 lock down rules, but now we need to follow the regulations.) Any family who are employing family members should make alternative arrangements. If there are any queries, families should discuss this with their allocated worker as soon as possible to agree next steps. This remains the same.

Existing policy change at April 2020: Flexible use of direct payments – families will need to continue to keep receipts for any purchases made.
Revision at November 2020: The cap of £250 per month spend from direct payments on items to support education, exercise and entertainment was introduced from 17th August 2020. Any item purchased must be intended to provide a short break or respite for yourself and/or your child, if your usual care is unavailable. You must retain receipts for any purchases made. To enable further flexibility, if a planned purchase costs more than £250, then by written agreement with the named worker, the family can put money from the following month towards the purchase.

Essential enabler costs
It is reasonable for an enabler/carer to request expenses which will be incurred whilst they assist the family i.e. public transport or mileage for essential journeys to support the child. We would advise that this is paid at a rate of 45p per mile for a maximum of 30 miles per session. This will allow the enabler to take the child/young person to a nearby town for activities etc. A small allowance can be paid to enablers/carers if they are working during a mealtime. It is expected that this will be no more than £6. The enablers costs of supporting the child/young person to participate in activities can be funded through Direct payments. However, it is expected that any discounts available to carers are used.

Transfer of funds to personal accounts
It is not necessary or appropriate to transfer monies from the Direct payment accounts to personal bank accounts as the Devon card can be used to make payments to providers and for services in the same way as a personal bank card. The only circumstances where this may be necessary is if cash is required to pay a trader who does not accept card payments. Permission should always be sought by the family.