Personal budgets and direct payments
We are committed to putting all our residents at the heart of all we do. For Adult Social Care this means making sure that social care services work for each person. An important step to personalising social care services is making sure you have choice and control over any care and support you need to live your life. This is self-directed support, managing your support in a way that best suits you, looking at what you want to achieve and the support you need to do this.
We are following a seven-step approach to help you have choice and control over the support and services you need. The seven steps are:
- knowing my budget
- making my plan
- agreeing my plan
- organising my money
- organising my support
- living my life
- seeing how it's worked
We want to give you greater control over how your personal budget is used. You will be able to choose who will help you organise and deliver your support.
What is a personal budget?
A personal budget is social care money, which is allocated to you, and that you are entitled to spend on meeting your care and support needs in a way that suits you best. The amount of money you are entitled to is worked out using the care assessment. This is an estimate of what your care and support will cost over a year. You will always be told what your budget is by your Care Manager.
Benefits of a personal budget
Having a personal budget can make a big difference. People who received direct payments have said it improved their physical and mental health, and their control over their lives and care. They also said they were supported with dignity and that they felt safer inside and outside their homes. (Source: POET Surveys 2013-2015 Think local act personal)
Am I eligible for a Personal Budget?
To receive a personal budget, you start by having a care assessment. A Care Manager will speak with you about your needs and look at what support you already have in place. If you are not eligible to receive services we can offer advice, support and guidance to meet your needs in other ways. Contact our First Contact Team to request a care assessment:
What can I spend my Budget on?
Your Personal Budget can be used flexibly to meet the care and support needs identified in your care assessment. You decide with the help of your Care Manager, family and anyone else you choose, how best to spend your budget to meet your care and support needs. Some examples of how a budget can be spent are:
- to employ a Personal Assistant
- to buy home care from an agency
- to access community activities
- to get respite care in your own home
There are some things you are not able to spend your budget on including:
- anything illegal
- anything that causes you or anyone else harm
- anything that exposes you or others to unacceptable levels of risk or in a way that does not meet your support needs
Managing your Personal Budget
To try and increase choice and control we offer flexible options to help you manage your personal budget:
- You can choose to manage your budget yourself. Your budget would be paid directly to you in the form of a prepaid card (a direct payment). You can use the card just like any bank debit cards, purchasing a product or service to meet your support needs in person, by phone or over the internet.
- You can ask for a managed service. We will look after your personal budget for you and provide you with the services you want to meet your support needs. If you choose this option you will only be able to choose from services provided by the Council such as home care or day care service.
- You can choose to have a third party manage your budget. You would choose someone you trust, such as a family member, friend, support service or advocate to manage your budget with you. Anyone you choose to look after your personal budget must listen and respect your views.
- You can have a mix of the above options. You don't have to choose just one way to manage your budget. Having a mix can offer more flexibility and control over your support needs.
Your Support Plan
Once you have been informed about your estimated budget you can start thinking about your support plan. A support plan tells us about what is important to you and how you would like to use your budget to meet your support needs. This may mean that your final budget is different to the estimated budget. It may go up or down. Your support plan should tell us about your aspirations for the future and the outcomes you want to achieve to improve the quality of your life.
Some things to consider in your support plan are:
- What's important to me about my life and my health?
- What's working? What's not working?
- Things I want to change (what would make a real difference?) and the outcomes I want to achieve.
- How will I be supported?
- How do I wish to spend my budget?
- How do I plan to manage my support (for example, Direct Payment)?
- How will I stay in control?
You can complete your support plan by yourself, with help from family or friends. You can ask your Care Manager for support or get an advocate to help you.
Find more information about Self Directed Support on the In Control website.