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Direct payments overview


What are direct payments?

A direct payment is when your personal budget is paid directly to you to buy your own care and support in line with your assessed needs.

It allows you to have more choice and control over your life by enabling you to make decisions about how your care is delivered. 

Please note

You cannot be made to accept direct payments if you don't want them.



Am I eligible?

Direct payments can only be given to people who have been assessed as needing support by adult social care services as part of the Care Act 2014.

You must be one of the following:

  • aged 16 or over and assessed as needing and being eligible for care and support
  • the parent of a disabled child who has been assessed as needing and being eligible for care and support

If you have been assessed as eligible for care to be provided by adult social care services, you may be eligible for a direct payment.

You must be able and willing to consent to a direct payment, or have a representative who is able and willing to consent to you receiving a direct payment.

You must also be able to manage the direct payment or have an authorised financial representative who is able manage the direct payment on your behalf. 

Please note

You may be required to contribute to the cost of your care. Anyone who gets a service from us will be financially assessed, whether they receive a directly provided service or a direct payment.

For further information, please see our commonly asked questions page.



How do I apply?

I don't receive any social care services at the moment

You will need an assessment for social care.

Please  contact Staffordshire Cares.

I currently receive social care services

You will need to contact your social worker or key worker for further details.

Please  contact Staffordshire Cares if you do not have their direct phone number.

I am applying on behalf of someone who is under 18

Please call First Response on 0800 1313 126.


What can I use direct payments for?

You can use a direct payment to buy support which meets your eligible needs and achieves your agreed outcomes. The outcomes will be documented in your care and support plan.

Depending on your assessed needs, your direct payments can be used for:

  • support with personal care. This can be either with a local care provider or employing a personal assistant
  • support to enable you to access activities in the community
  • respite, the payment would pay for care while your unpaid informal carer has a break
  • equipment and minor works for your home


If you need help to get up, washed and dressed each morning, traditionally we would arrange the help for you. With a direct payment we will give you the money to purchase the service yourself either by employing a personal assistant (PA) or via a home care provider.

Other examples include:

  • attending a local day centre
  • paying for respite care, enabling your unpaid informal carer to have a break
  • paying for specialist equipment or renovations, such as a ramp outside your home or a raised toilet seat



What can't I use them for?

Your social care contact will be able to explain this to you. Direct payments cannot be spent on anything that is not covered by your care and support plan.



What are the benefits of direct payments?

Direct payments give you greater control and flexibility over your care arrangements. This means you can employ your own staff if you want, or purchase your care from a provider of your choice.

Direct payments are not seen as income and have no effect on your tax or benefits.



How do I pay for services with a direct payment?

We have introduced prepaid cards for people in receipt of direct payments.

The cards will allow you to have the money on a preloaded card. It will allow you to pay for the services you need to meet your care and support needs.

It will be easier to pay for services and will result in less paperwork for you too.



How do I get support with employing a personal asssistant?

Please note

If you decide to employ a personal assistant, you will be the employer of your own staff.

You will be responsible for the line management of each employee.

Personal assistants must be able to evidence the times they have worked, this can be achieved through keeping time sheets and applies to all employees.

This may sound daunting although assistance is available with this process. Please contact Staffordshire Cares for further information.

If you want to employ your own personal assistant there are a number of organisations that can help to support you such as Skills for Care.



Please fill in our feedback form if you have any suggestions or ideas to help us improve the direct payments pages.


Further information

You may find these websites helpful:

An easy read version of this information is available on the Government's website. 

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