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
- provided information about your income and savings.
The money you receive is called a personal budget. We can:
- pay this as direct payments to you or to a 'suitable' or an 'authorised' person to manage
- manage the budget for you, or
- mix these options.
2 Direct payments
If you choose to have your budget paid directly to you through direct payments, you can arrange and pay for your own support instead of using the services we provide.
We offer 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 phone 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 payments
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).
You can build up (accrue) money to make sure you're able to cover future costs and unexpected expenses. This must be agreed by us. Currently, if you have accrued more than eight weeks of your personal budget we will look into the reasons this has happened.
If you have not agreed the accrual 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 for you and arrange your support.
We can do this if you:
- want to use services provided by the County Council
- don't want to manage the money yourself
- can't consent to receive direct payments because you are unable to make decisions for yourself and there isn't a 'suitable' or 'authorised' person who can manage the personal budget on your behalf
- are in prison and so you are not eligible for direct payments.
You can use the money 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
- transport to and from an activity in your care and support plan if there are no other transport options
- practical support in your home or local community, for example, someone to collect your prescriptions or arrange repairs to your home.