About direct payments

What is a direct payment?

Direct payments are cash payments made to a disabled or older person (or a representative of their choosing). These payments are made in advance, usually every four weeks. They enable people to purchase and arrange their own support to meet their needs. The aim of direct payments is to give people more choice, greater flexibility and more control over the support they get.

Who can get direct payments?

You can get direct payments if:

  • you have been assessed as needing social care services to support you with daily living
  • you have a disability or are an older person with social care needs
  • you consent to receiving a direct payment and either you or your agent can manage the payment

Direct payments can be made to people of all ages. For children and young people under 16, payments are made to an adult who has parental responsibility.

Under current mental health and criminal justice legislation, certain people are excluded from the direct payment scheme.

Will I have to make a contribution?

A financial assessment will be carried out by social services and you may be required to make a contribution to the cost of your care. Your contribution will normally be deducted from the direct payment.

What can I do with my direct payment?

You can use your direct payment to purchase and arrange the support you need in any way you choose. This may include:

  • employing your own personal assistants or home carers
  • buying services from a home care agency
  • buying other services you have been assessed as needing

Who can I employ?

You can employ anyone you choose. However, you are only allowed to employ family members who live in the same household as you in special cases.

How much control will I have?

When you employ a personal assistant they can help you live independently and in a way that you choose. You can decide what you want them to do and when you want them to work. You will have full control over how your care is provided.

Who can help me to employ a personal assistant?

Speak to your local social services department as they will be able to provide you with information or tell you about a local organisation that can provide support.

We are an independent provider and can offer advice and support in Hertfordshire with a direct payment scheme. We can support you with:

  • recruiting and employing your own personal assistants
  • paying your personal assistants
  • tax and National Insurance
  • keeping the required records for auditing purposes

Find out how to apply for direct payments.