Option 1 – A Direct Payment

If you choose Option 1, this will give you the greatest level of flexibility from the four funding choices offered, but it also carries with it the greatest level of responsibility on your part.

A Direct Payment is a sum of money awarded to you from the Council to meet your assessed support needs. You will control how your budget is spent and you can therefore choose what amount to pay for the care and support you need.

What is involved in this Funding Choice?

  • A Direct Payment means you will be entering into a legally binding contract with the Council.
  • Payments will be made in monthly instalments and records must be kept (invoices etc) along with bank statements about how the money has been spent.
  • ‘One off’ payments for things like a piece of equipment can also be made.
  • You can choose to become an employer and employ your own staff; called Personal Assistants.
  • You can choose to contract an agency to provide a service, perhaps one not previously contracted by the Council or you can buy services from the Council itself.
  • You can also buy services from another local authority, a voluntary organisation or a private company.
  • A Direct Payment lets you agree the time of the visit/support and the amount of time the support will last for.
  • You can use a Direct Payment to pay for a short-break/respite or to buy equipment.
  • The Council can sometimes refuse to offer a Direct Payment, for example where it is considered it would be used for unsafe or illegal purposes. If this happens you will be notified in writing about the reasons why, and this decision will be reviewed at a future date.
  • A family member or a close relative can be employed through a Direct Payment, but there are certain conditions which need to be met, and this does remain at the Council’s discretion.
  • You can decide to end your Direct Payment in favour of another funding choice or the Council can end the Direct Payment for a number of reasons.
  • The majority of people who receive a Direct Payment will need to have the money paid into a separate bank account.
  • If you choose to become an employer, you will have certain responsibilities such as taking responsibility for tax, national insurance and staff training amongst other things.
  • However, if Personal Assistants are self-employed they will be responsible for some of these things themselves.
  • You can do your own payroll (the Network can help with this) or choose to use a Payroll Service who can deal with all administrative issues for you to make this easier to set up and manage your Direct Payment.
  • Back-Up planning is important if using a Direct Payment (for example if a Personal Assistant is off work ill, a ‘back-up’ support plan is needed).
  • If you have fluctuating needs (some days/weeks you find you need less support) this option may suit you as you can adjust the care provided in line with your needs.
  • The Council will monitor and review the Direct Payment.

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