From 1 February 2020, the council will stop issuing payments by cheques. Payments such as refunds and compensation will be processed by bank transfer instead.
Direct payments are cash payments made to people who have been assessed as needing social care services from us.
You can arrange your own services or support. You have more freedom, choice and control as you can decide how your needs are met and in a way that meets your needs.
If you already receive support from the council and would like to apply for a direct payment, you should contact your care manager or social worker and let them know that you're interested in receiving a direct payment for your social care needs.
Who can receive direct payments
You can receive direct payments if you're 16 or over, and assessed by the council as needing social care services.
People caring for someone (carers) who need social care may also be entitled to a direct payment in their own right. Visit our carers section for more information.
What direct payments can be used for
You can use direct payments to pay for goods and services identified in your support plan.
There isn't a specific list of goods or services which you can buy to meet your needs.
One of the benefits of using direct payments is that you have the chance to choose less traditional services. For example, you might choose to use your direct payment for support with:
- personal care
- getting out and about in the community
- maximising your independence and well being
- employing a personal assistant
Direct payments can't be used to:
- employ a relative or partner who lives in your home, apart from in exceptional circumstances.
- purchase permanent residential care, but you can use it to pay for short breaks as part of your assessed care needs.
Direct payments for equipment
You can choose to receive a direct payment to buy equipment to help you at home. This is usually for large pieces of equipment (with a value over £100) such as bath lifts or chairs. You choose where to buy the equipment.
To receive direct payments, you will have to:
- have a financial assessment to see if you need to contribute some of your own money in addition to your direct payment from us
- sign a written agreement with us to say that you'll spend the money on the services you have been assessed as needing. You will not be able to receive your first payment until you have signed this agreement
- set up a separate bank account to keep your direct payment money in, along with any contribution you need to make. This account must not contain any other money than that intended for your social care support
- provide proof of spending by keeping receipts and statements to show what the direct payment has been used for.
We are legally obliged to check how people are spending their direct payments. You are expected to keep records of all your expenditure relating to your direct payments, including your bank statements.
The amount that I will receive?
The amount you receive will depend on what support you have had been assessed as needing.
Direct payments are paid once a month into your dedicated bank account.
You may have to contribute towards the cost of your care, depending on your circumstances. This will be discussed during your assessment. If you do have to contribute towards the cost of your support, the amount you must contribute will be deducted from your direct payment.
The amount you receive is reviewed once a year, when you have your annual review of your care needs. If you go on holiday, or need to have a stay in hospital, you must let your social worker or care manager know, as they may need to adjust the amount of your direct payment.
One-off direct payments
Some people will be given a one-off payment for the purchase of items such as a training course. For many people, their direct payment for equipment may also be a one-off payment.
You will not be expected to open a separate bank account, but must send a receipt or other evidence showing the money was spent appropriately to the council.
Support for people receiving direct payments
You can get support to manage your direct payment including:
- support to set up your payments
- ongoing help to manage your money and using it in the most effective way.
Direct payments advisory team
2 Bristol Avenue, London NW9 4EW
Telephone: 020 8359 4650