1 What is a personal budget?
If your needs are high or complex you may be entitled to funding from the County Council. You will need to have been assessed as eligible for funded social care support and provided information about your income and savings.
2 Direct payments
Direct payments are when we make payments directly to you or an appointed 'suitable person' (someone who can act on your behalf), such as a family member. If you choose this method, you can arrange and pay for your own support instead of using the services we provide.
From late 2018 we will be offering people a pre-paid card account for receiving direct payments. This is a simple process as you do not have to open a separate bank account or return bank statements to us. You can also use the pre-paid card account to make payments over the internet or telephone and set up direct debits and standing orders to pay for services.
If you feel that you may not be able to manage a pre-paid card account, one of our staff will explain the alternative option for receiving direct payments.
Spending your direct payment
Direct payments can only be used to pay for support set out in your support plan. It cannot be used for other things, such as:
- health care
- general household bills or living costs
- residential or nursing care home fees, unless it's for short periods of care.
If you have more than eight weeks of your personal budget allocation which you have not spent, we will look into the reasons why this has happened. If you have a direct payment and the accrual has not been agreed with your social care worker, you will be expected to return this money to us.
3 Council-managed budget
A Council-managed budget is where we manage your personal budget and arrange your support.
This can be because:
- you wish to use services provided by the County Council, as our services cannot be purchased directly
- you do not wish to manage the money yourself
- you can't consent to receive direct payments because you are unable to make decisions for yourself and there isn't a 'suitable person' who can manage the personal budget on your behalf.
A County Council managed budget can be used for:
- care provided in your home (domiciliary care) by an independent provider
- day care provided by an independent provider or by us
- residential or nursing home respite (short-term) care
- outreach support, for example, practical support in your home or local community.