Learn what direct payments are, how they're paid, what you can use them on and how to set them up and manage them.
What is a Direct Payment?
A Direct Payment (DP) allows you to receive money to purchase your identified care and support needs, including paying for care agencies or buying equipment.
Instead of Worcestershire County Council purchasing care for you, we will give you the budget to purchase some or all your care needs yourself. The budget can be managed by you or a representative.
Want to know more about Direct Payments?
This video will tell you about changes to DP's and the pre-payment card.
For more in depth information, download: Your Guide to Direct Payments booklet (PDF)
How Direct Payments work
Following a care assessment (Care Act 2014 assessment), you will get a personal budget. This is the total amount you will receive for your care and support. Your Social Care Worker will help you explore the support available in your community that may interest you and meet your needs.
You can choose to have all or part of your personal budget as a Direct Payment.
Direct Payments give you more choice, control, and flexibility over your care and support arrangements.
Who can have a Direct Payment?
As well as completing a care assessment you must be:
- a disabled person aged 16 years and above
- a parent of (or people with parental responsibility for) disabled children
- a carer aged 16 years and above
- a disabled person with parental responsibilities for a child
- an appointed suitable or authorised person (agreed by the Council) for someone who lacks capacity
In most cases, the Council must offer Direct Payments, but for some people who are subject to some mental health legislation or aspects of criminal justice legislation the Council have the power rather than duty. Please ask your social work team more about this. Some people who are placed under certain conditions by courts in relation to drug and alcohol dependencies, are excluded from receiving Direct Payments.
Types of Direct Payment accounts
This is an account that is managed by a Direct Payment support service. The support service will ensure financial elements such as wages and tax bills are paid correctly.
Pre-payment card account
This is an account we will set up for you, we will provide you with a pre-payment card that is simple and easy to use. You can then pay for services through the card or online bank transfers.
Your Social Care Worker will talk through these options and other alternatives to work out what is best for you.
Setting up a Direct Payment
When you decide that you would like a Direct Payment, we will ask you to:
- agree the type of account
- sign a Direct Payment agreement
- pay your client contribution into the account
You'll need to understand the agreement that you are being asked to sign.
The person from Worcestershire County Council who is helping you to arrange your care should explain these in more detail to you.
How to set up your pre-payment account
This video shows you how to use your Direct Payment account online.
If you need help with your Direct Payment
If you feel that you can’t manage your Direct Payment on your own there are several options for you.
You may nominate a person (family member, friend, etc) to manage the account for you.
This is your Power of Attorney, or deputy appointed by the Office of Public Guardianship.
Someone who the “Authorised Person” (where there is one) and who the Local Authority agree is suitable to make Direct Payments on your behalf if you have been assessed as lacking capacity to manage Direct Payments.
The Direct Payment Support Service can manage the account on your behalf to ensure services are paid.
All the above supporting persons would need to sign the Direct Payment Agreement.
What can and can't a Direct Payment be used for?
You can only use your DP for services that we have agreed in your care and support plan. These may include:
- employing someone to help you, such as a personal assistant, see Employing a personal assistant for more information on this
- using a home care agency
- paying to attend a day care service
- paying for respite care services
- paying for leisure activities
- buying equipment to help you
You cannot use your DP to pay for:
- permanent care in a residential or nursing care home
- ordinary household expenses such as utility bills, rent or mortgage payments or food
- household items e.g. furniture
- anything illegal
- anything that does not contribute to meeting your needs that you have agreed in your care and support plan
- health services that should be provided by the NHS
- employing a close family member living in the same household, unless the local authority has agreed this
Experience of those who already use Direct Payments
Donna and Nathan's story
What is Client Contribution?
Your Social Care Worker will refer you for your financial assessment which will determine your Client Contribution. If your financial assessment identifies that you need to pay a contribution, you need to pay this into the account as the first part of the Direct Payment. The Council will pay the remainder of your budget into the account every 4 weeks. When added together these two amounts will make up your full Direct Payment and these amounts will be clearly explained in your Direct Payment agreement.
Your client contribution is reviewed annually or when your financial situation changes. When your weekly contribution rate changes, you will need to amend the amount you pay into the account and The Council will adjust the funds we pay to form the total budget in place.
On set up of the Direct Payment, funds will arrive in the account from Worcester County Council (WCC) on the next available payment run. Once you have access to your Direct Payment account you must pay your client contribution in from the start date and either weekly or every 4 weekly. Funds from The Council will be paid in every 4 weeks.
Worcester county council pay in advance to ensure you have enough funds to pay for your required services. When a Direct Payment ends, this will cause an over payment which will be reclaimed by The Council.
|Last date for NEW Pre Payment/ Managed accounts
|Last date for amendments
|Finalised payment run date
|Direct payment funds in the account on:
|This payment covers for the following dates (from):
|This payment covers for the following dates (to):
*Brokerage cease sending tasks to the DP team on the Payment run days when Payment run is in process
**Bank Holidays or unplanned events may change the above dates.
Reviewing your Direct Payments
We will contact you after 4 to 6 weeks of your Direct Payment start date, to make sure everything is going ok with your Direct Payment.
A care and support review will take place annually to make sure your support plan is meeting your needs. It will cover:
- ensuring payments are in line with your support plan
- client contribution is being paid in line with your financial assessment
- insurance is in place
- DBS is in place for personal assistants or self-employed carers
- services are being paid appropriately
- check annual PA wage increase if needed
- new Direct Payment agreement in place if changes in the Direct Payment budget is required
- contingency funding
What if my situation changes?
If there are any changes to your situation or circumstances, you can request an early review so your needs continue to be met.
Ending a Direct Payment
There are circumstances where it is appropriate to temporarily cease or suspend a Direct Payment, or even terminate the Direct Payment.
- the individual is no longer eligible for Council support
- the individual has an extended period away from their main residence
- loss of capacity of the individual or regaining capacity to consent to a Direct Payment
- problems with the management of the Direct Payment, including breaching terms of the Direct Payment agreement
- safeguarding concerns
- death of the individual
This decision could be made by the Direct Payment recipient, the nominated person, suitable authorised person, or the Council.
Contacts and further advice
- for general enquiries, visit the contact us page or speak to your social worker
- for a discussion about your needs, contact Adult Front Door
- visit Barrie Bookkeeping, a free service, which has been commissioned to provide information and support on behalf of The Council to direct payment recipients, this includes employment support.
- for prepayment account advice, visit Prepaid Financial Services, 0207 127 074
- for operational queries of your direct payment account, the Direct Payment Team can be contacted via email: email@example.com
- Care and support
- Paying for care and support
- Employing a personal assistant
- Community microenterprises
- Community Services Directory
- Worcestershire Advice Network
- Direct payments leaflet, easy read (PDF)
- Direct payments leaflet (PDF)
- Your guide to direct payments (PDF)
- Your guide to direct payments, easy read (PDF)
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