Direct Payments is money given to people to promote independence, choice and inclusion by enabling people to purchase the assistance or services that the Council or Partners would otherwise provide.
A person should be able to give their consent to receiving direct payments or have someone who is acting in their best interest who can do so on their behalf. They should be able to manage them even if they need help to do this.
Almost anyone who is eligible for social care services can choose to receive a Direct Payment instead.
Who is eligible?
If you already receive social care services
We are obliged to offer you the option of direct payments in place of the services you currently receive. (There are some limited circumstances where you are not given this choice and we will be able to tell you about these.)
If you are not receiving social care services
To get direct payments please contact us to ask for your needs to be assessed. Social care services (and therefore direct payments) are normally available if you have a critical or substantial need and you are:
• disabled and aged 16 or over
• a parent or carer aged 16 or over (including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child
• an older person
If you have been refused social care services
If we establish that you do not need social care services, we will not offer you direct payments. If you think your needs or circumstances have now changed, ask us for a new assessment.
Contact us and other useful organisations, for more information about direct payments. Details are at the bottom of the page.
How much do you get?
The amount you receive will depend on the assessment we make of your needs. Your financial circumstances will also be assessed to find out if you need to make a contribution towards the cost of your care. The amount of direct payment you receive will depend on that financial assessment too.
How it's paid
The payments are made directly into a dedicated bank or building society account.
How to apply for direct payments
If you already get services, ask us about direct payments. If you are applying for services for the first time, your social worker should discuss the direct payments option with you when they assess your care needs.
What you can use direct payments for
Many disabled people need help to live the lifestyle of their choice. Being able to have some control of your life is what direct payments is all about. The money is for you to use to arrange the services including equipment which will meet the needs you have been assessed as having.
This might mean employing a personal assistant. If you decide this is the best support for you, an Independent Living Adviser (ILA) from the Rowan Organisation can give you help and advice about employing a personal assistant or help you manage your direct payment account if you need support.
As a general principle, we will aim to leave you to choose how best to meet your assessed needs as long as we are satisfied that these needs are being met and outcomes are being delivered.
What you can't use direct payments for
A direct payment cannot be spent on:
purchasing services from Staffordshire County Council or Partners
permanent residential care
an activity or item that exposes the individual to serious risk from someone else/themselves
funding support provided by anyone living in the same house except in exceptional circumstances
anything that is not covered by the support plan
any type of illegal activity
any services provided by the NHS
a substitute for Disabled Facilities Grants
a self employed Personal Assistant, or
anything else that is not an assessed eligible community care need
If you receive direct payments, you'll need to account for the money you spend. We will tell you what records you need to keep and what information you'll be expected to provide: such as receipts for tax payments or invoices for services from agencies.
We may visit you in your home to enable us to check that the needs for which you get your direct payments for are being met, or we may write to you and ask you to send information to us.
Other features of direct payments
only use the money to meet your assessed needs;
keep the payments in a separate bank account;
manage and account for the money you are given;
sign an agreement to say you understand the principles of the scheme;
If you are employing staff:
recruit and pay your staff or arrange alternative services. This includes paying their tax and providing a job description (though we do provide help for you to do this);
accept the responsibilities in employing and organising your staff; and
make sure your staff are treated reasonably and that their health and safety is protected.
We would also strongly recommend that you arrange a check on their criminal background. (a CRB check), we will also help you do this.
Carers and direct payments
Please refer to the Carers policy.
Effect on other benefits
Direct payments are a payment in lieu of care and not a replacement of income. They therefore do not effect any other benefits you may be receiving and are not taxable.
What to do if your circumstances change
If your social care needs change
If your needs change (for better or for worse, or in the long- or short-term) contact us as soon as possible so that we can reassess the level of payments you need. For example, if you don't need to spend the full amount because your condition improves temporarily, or you go into hospital, we may need to adjust your payments.
If you don't want to continue with direct payments
If you decide you don't want to continue then we will arrange services instead. If we decide you cannot manage direct payments, we might decide to stop making those payments and provide services instead.
What to do if you are not happy with the outcome of your assessment
You have the right to appeal. Speak to your assessor who will advise you who to contact or, you can use our complaints procedure. Your assessor will give you a leaflet that explains the procedure and includes a form you can fill in to have the appeal looked into.
More useful information is in the documents below:
Direct Payment Policy document (339 KB)
Direct Payment Agreement DP1 document (322 KB)
Department of Health - A guide to receiving Direct Payments from your local council (1.19 MB)
Contact details for more information
If you need help you can contact us by:
You can also ask for a service or ask for more information online.
Other useful contacts
Direct Payments Support Contractor: The Rowan Organisation
The Rowan Organisation
Eliot Park Innovation Centre
Tel: 02476 322 860
Minicom: 02476 374 439
Fax: 02476 374 948
Freephone helpline: 0800 783 1755
Social Care and Health Directorate Self Directed Support Team Phone: 01785 854493 Fax: 01785 854497 Email: email@example.com
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