Personal Budgets and direct payments
If you have been assessed by us as requiring long term community care and support then you are likely to be eligible for a Personal Budget.
A Personal Budget is the sum of money the council assesses you as requiring to meet your care and support needs. The Personal Budget is to pay for your care and support needs each week.
What can I use my Personal Budget for?
Whatever was agreed in your support plan. For instance, having assistance to get washed and dressed, make meals, do your shopping, housework, or laundry. It could also perhaps include someone to take you out to the park, theatre, pub, college etc. All of this will be agreed with you in advance and written in your care and support plan.
Is there anything I cannot use my Personal Budget for?
Your Personal Budget is designed to give you maximum flexibility in how you choose and manage your care. However, there are some things that the money cannot be used for.
These include, but are not limited to:
- anything that is against the law
- on-going residential or nursing care - although your budget can be used for short term breaks
- repaying debts including mortgages, fuel arrears, loans
- financial investments
- household bills, for example rent, gas, electricity, water
- day to day food bills, cigarettes, and alcohol
- buying personal care from an unregistered care agency
- payments to close relatives living in the same household - unless there are exceptional circumstances which must be agreed by the council
- health care needs, which would otherwise be paid for by the NHS.
How will I receive my Personal Budget?
There are three ways that you can choose to receive a Personal Budget:
- an arranged service
- an individual service fund (ISF)
- a direct payment.
What is an arranged service?
This is when the council manages your Personal Budget on your behalf and chooses your care services for you. This may include purchasing services from a local care agency or day centre.
If you would like further information on this option then please speak to your social worker or assessor.
What is an individual service fund (ISF)?
This is when the council gives your Personal Budget to an independent agency. You choose who this agency is, but they must be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The agency will work with you to design, arrange, and manage the support you want, based on what was agreed in your support plan. The agency then sets this up for you.
See the individual service fund easy read leaflet (pdf) for further information.
What is a direct payment?
A direct payment is when the council gives you your Personal Budget and you arrange / purchase your own care and support needs. This may include hiring a personal assistant (PA).
If you decide to have a direct payment to hire (employ) a PA, then you need to be aware that there are some other tasks in relation to employing a person that you or your nominated or authorised person will need to take responsibility for.
What is the difference between a nominated person and an authorised person?
A nominated person is someone you choose to help you manage your direct payment. This could be a friend or family member. If you nominate someone to manage the direct payment on your behalf, you still maintain the legal responsibilities that go with it.
For example, Mrs smith is 92 years of age. She feels that she will have difficulty paying her personal assistant and fully understanding the contracts that are involved. With his agreement, she ‘nominates’ her son to manage the financial and legal aspects on her behalf.
An authorised person, is someone who manages the direct payment on your behalf, because you are not mentally able to do so. This might be because you have a mental health illness. This could be a friend or family member. If you have an authorised person managing your direct payment, then they become legally responsible for everything that goes with it.
For example: Mr Toms has a cognitive impairment and deemed to lack capacity regarding his finances and care needs in his most recent assessment. He responds well with a private carer which improves his quality of life. Mrs Toms will act in her husband’s best interest to manage the finances and legalities of the direct payment to improve his quality of life.
Coronavirus advice for people who receive direct payments
If you receive direct payments to organise your own care and support you may find this information useful.
Direct Payment Support Service
The Direct Payment Support Service provides information, support and advice on all aspects of direct payments.
If you have any questions or queries particularly about employment issues, you can call the Independent Living Direct Payment Support Service at Action on Disability. They can help you with the latest guidance about your worker’s rights:
Contact H&F advice
If you would like further information on employing a PA, you can contact Skills for Care and request a free information pack. Ring them on 0113 241 1275 to request your free copy. You can also visit the Skills for Care website.
Improving direct payment support in H&F
Direct payments are a way for residents to have more choice and control over the care and support they receive, by having the money directly to choose how to meet their needs. People who use direct payments say they make a real difference in helping them remain independent. But we know it can be complicated to set up and manage direct payments, and you have told us you need better information and advice.
At an event in September co-hosted by us and Action on Disability, we looked at how we can improve direct payment support. People heard about the recommendations of the Ruils independent direct payment review and our commitment to work with you to improve the lives of Disabled people.
This is a summary of what residents said good direct payment support should look like:
- Simple information that is jargon free
- Helpful and human support
- Clear rules
- It's all about choice, control and independence
- Respectful interactions that keep me informed
- Practical employer advice
- Empowering assesssments
- Being informed
- Trained staff that know how it all works
- A clear pathway so I know what is possible
- Budgeting and finance support
- A user led independent living service
What will happen next?
We will work together with residents and Disabled people’s organisations to improve people’s experience of direct payments. This will include developing easier systems, a new direct payments support service, training for staff and better information and advice.
It’s not too late to have your say. A new direct payment user group will co-produce this work, plus there are other ways to get involved and shape your local direct payment support.
Alexander Payne, our independent living direct payments lead will be working with residents, social work teams and local disability organisations to deliver safe and supported direct payments. Please contact Alexander to find out more or to give your views about how we can improve direct payments in H&F.
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 8753 3477
In 2017, we asked Ruils, a Disabled people’s organisation, to undertake a review of Hammersmith & Fulham’s direct payments system. They made a number of recommendations which we are committed to implementing. We are grateful to all the residents using direct payments who contributed to the review.
The full report and an easy read version are available here: