Direct payments

What are direct payments?

If you have been given a personal budget, direct payments are a way you can have all or a part of the money so you can arrange and purchase your care and support yourself.

They can be used in a variety of ways to pay for support such as:

  • personal care
  • respite care
  • day services
  • minor home adaptations
  • specialist equipment

What are the benefits?

Direct payments give you more choice and control over your care and how your needs are met. They are not seen as income and have no effect on tax or benefits.

Please note: you cannot be made to accept direct payments if you don't want them.

Am I eligible?

You must be able and willing to consent to a direct payment. You must also be able to manage the payment. You have to be:

  • Aged 16 or over and assessed as needing and being eligible for care and support


  • A carer with an agreed assessment of need that is eligible for direct carer support


  • The parent of a disabled child who has been assessed as needing and being eligible for care and support

What can I spend them on?

You have several choices. It will form part of your care and support plan.

You find out more by dowloading the PDF DocumentDirect Payments factsheet (434KB)


  • Employing a personal assistant to help you with things like getting dressed or going shopping. People employed in this way can be friends or family members, as long as they do not live with you. CareMatch provides information about employing your own care and support staff.  

  • Joining a local club or society to meet other people.  Try searching Staffordshire Connects to find local support.   

  • Paying expenses for unpaid helpers.

  • Paying holiday or other expenses for your carer, so they can have a break.
  • Buying specialist equipment or renovations, such as a stair lift or 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:

  • Purchasing services from the local authority or partners.

  • An activity or item that exposes the individual to serious risk from someone else or themselves.

  • Funding support provided by anyone living in the same house except in exceptional circumstances.

  • Anything that is not covered by your care and support plan.

  • Gambling or any type of illegal activity.

  • Any services provided by the NHS.

  • A substitute for disabled facilities grants.

  • Long-term residential care.

  • Housing or household expenses such as food, electric and gas.

  • Anything else that is not an assessed eligible community care need.

What if I want to stop them?

If you decide you don't want them any more, you can ask us to use a managed personal budget to provide the care and support that you need.

Your social care contact will be able to arrange this for you.

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