Making sense of Direct Payments - A Guideline.
What is a direct payment?
Direct payments are a different way to get services for you or your child. Instead of using the services that social services provide for you, you will get money given to you each month. This can then be used to buy the support that you / your child needs.
Can I get direct payments for myself or my child?
Yes. If you have a disability or if you are a parent of, or have parental responsibility for a child with a disability who is under the age of eighteen, it may be possible for you to get direct payments.
How do I apply for direct payments?
You will need to have an assessment of your/your child and family’s needs. After the assessment, social services must offer you the option of direct payments. If you have had an assessment and social services have not told about direct payments you need to talk to your social worker. You will then be able to find out if you can get direct payments. If your child has not had an assessment then you need to ask your local social services for an assessment. This assessment will look at what support you/your child and family needs. It will also tell you if you are entitled to direct payments.
What happens if social services refuses to give me direct payments?
If your local social services has refused you direct payments, you need to talk first to your/your child’s social worker. If this does not solve the problem, then you need to contact their line manager and explain that you would like to make a complaint.
Do I have to use direct payments?
No, social services must offer you the option of direct payments, you do not have to take them. If you think that direct payments are not suitable, then social services will have to continue providing the services they have assessed your child as needing.
Can I use some direct payments and some services provided by social services?
Yes. Your child could, for example, continue to use the council’s short break service and you could use direct payments to pay for extra support at an after-school club.
How much money will I get?
There is no fixed amount for direct payments. The amount of money you get is decided by social services, they will look at what services you/your child needs. Then social services will give you an amount of money that is equivalent to the reasonable cost of the services that the council would have provided.
How can I use direct payments?
Direct payments can be used to buy the most appropriate support for you / your child. This could be a number of different things, including:
* Help for you with personal care, such as dressing, eating or washing - sometimes called ’domiciliary care’
* After school care - at home or at a club
* Short breaks - sometimes called ’respite care’
* Support to access leisure services such as swimming or horse riding
* Help with household tasks - this will then give you more free time.
* A holiday for you / your child or family.
* Equipment that would be provided by social services.
If I use direct payments will I have to employ staff?
Direct payments give you the opportunity to either pay for a service for you/ your child, such as a nursery, or to employ someone to help you and your child. If you employ someone, you may need to advertise, interview them and follow up references. Also, if you do employ someone, you will become an employer and will have legal responsibilities. To make sure that you fulfil these correctly you should contact your local direct payment support scheme.
Will social services still carry out reviews?
Yes. Social services should still review you / your child’s needs on a regular basis.
For further information:
Contact your local direct payments advisor, contact social services for a contact number.