Direct payments are a payment made to people
who require support at home, day care, short breaks or special
equipment and who wish to organise these services themselves. There
are some exceptions to this which are described below.
Under our "direct payments" scheme, we will
pay you the cost of the service, and you can then make your own
Is self-directed support and personal
budgets just direct payments in another name?
A personal budget is how much money you are
eligible to receive to pay for your support based on new system
called self-directed support. It is calculated based on an
assessment of your needs and direct payments are just one way in
which people can be given their personal budget.
Who can use direct payments?
Anyone aged sixteen or over who is assessed by
manager as needing community care services has a right to opt
for direct payments, though there are a few restrictions:
- You must be willing and able to manage the
paperwork and responsibilities involved (with
someone helping you if
- You may not be eligible if you have been
detained under mental health legislation
- Carers can only get direct payments to
replace services provided directly to them - they cannot get money
to buy services for the person they care for
What can direct payments be used for?
Direct payments can be used to pay for:
- Personal assistance - for instance you can
pay for help from an agency, or you can employ someone (including
- Daytime care or for short breaks or special
They can not be used to pay for
- General living expenses (e.g. fuel bills), or
for health or housing services.
- For services provided by a public-sector
- Long-term residential care.
- Your partner or a relative who lives with
How much would the direct payment be?
Direct payments are based on the amount and
type of care that you need. This will be assessed by a care
manager in the usual way.
You can choose to receive direct payments for
all your care, or only for some parts of it. We will agree a
reasonable cost for the care, including money for the costs of
recruiting staff, insurance, wages and other costs such as National
Insurance, holiday, sickness and maternity pay. Usually this
will be based on an hourly rate for the care you need.
We cannot pay more than it would cost if we
arranged the service ourselves.
We will assess how much you can afford to pay
yourself towards the cost of your support, using the same rules
that apply to charges for services. You will either pay this
separately or have it subtracted from your direct payments.
What would my responsibilities be?
If you choose direct payments, you will have
- open a separate bank account specifically to
use for your Direct Payment.
- use the money to pay for the help that your
community care assessment shows you need.
- keep records of how the money is used.
- be accountable for the way the money is
- be responsible with support for arranging
your own care (including back up arrangements).
- take on the responsibilities of an employer
if you employ your own staff.
Can I get help managing Direct Payments?
The person who receives the Direct Payment
must be able to make decisions about the support they buy in, but
they can get help with the day-to-day management of things like
paperwork. This can come from us or from family or friends,
or through legal arrangements like a trust or power of
For instance you may want help with:
- How to recruit and select personal
- How to write job descriptions and
- How to become an employer
- How to deal with Tax and National
What monitoring and review would there be?
You would continue to have a care manager, who
would review your circumstances at intervals. If your needs
have changed, or if the rules about how much support we can provide
have changed, this may lead to an increase or a reduction in the
We would also make an annual check on how you
are using the money and what services you have arranged with
Further practical information
Direct payments will not
affect your social security benefits or your tax liabilities.
You can ask at any time to stop getting direct
payments and change to services arranged by us. If your needs
are complex, though, we will need some notice to sort this out.
To find out more, talk to your care manager,
Self Directed Support Team,
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust,
Morpeth NE61 2EF
Phone (01670) 622662
Adult Social Care
Telephone: 01670 536 400
Email address: Socialcare@northumbria.nhs.uk