When a new Direct Payment is set up it will initially be reviewed within the first 6-8 weeks to check the account is working well. Following this each Direct Payment account has an annual financial check-up. We check a number of things including:
- there is enough contingency money in case there is a change in care or an emergency
- the correct amount of client contribution is being paid into the account, topping up the total amount available to pay for care
- that spending on the account is in line with the support plan
The way we complete the financial check-up for your Direct Payment account will depend on what sort of account you hold. For a Prepayment account we will be able to access the Prepayment account system and check the statements independently. This is an advantage of the Prepayment account, not only is it easier to set up, but you do not need to supply WCC with bank statements for the annual financial check-up.
If you hold a traditional bank account then you will need to send in the bank statements and any receipts for cash, cheque and bank transfer transactions, so that we can check them. We will contact you when this information is required.
Should I keep my receipts?
Worcestershire County Council does not expect you to keep detailed accounts but there are some records you must keep. We ask that you keep bank statements and bank account interest details for the current year plus the last 6 years. We also ask that you keep invoices, receipts, wage slips and timesheets for the Direct Payment account so that they can be viewed at the annual financial check-up. In addition if you purchase any equipment with your Direct Payment we suggest you keep receipts, warranties and maintenance and agreements for the life of the equipment.
Employer records need to be retained in line with the advice from the Direct Payment Support Service or following the advice of HM Revenue and Customs. If you have chosen not to have this support you can receive advice from HM Revenue and Customs.
The financial check-up process
When the Direct Payment account is due a financial check-up we will contact you to let you know. If you have a Prepayment account then you do not need to reply unless there are any outstanding invoices or HMRC payments that you let us know about. If you have a traditional account then we will request your bank statements and supporting documents.
The next step is for us to complete the financial check-up by looking at the bank statements and supporting documents. We are checking there is enough contingency, the client contribution is being paid, and that the spending on the account is in line with the support plan. The next step is for the financial check-up to be passed to the social worker so that it can be used in line with the care review. If there any issues with the financial check-up then the social worker will address them with you.
The reclaim process
Direct Payment accounts can hold a maximum balance of up to six weeks of the Direct Payment weekly amount. Where the balance in the account is more than six weeks, we reclaim the surplus from the Direct Payment Account unless there are any outstanding invoices or other payments that you have let us know about.
If you have a Prepayment account then we can reclaim the surplus directly from the account with no further action from you.
If you have a traditional account then there are two ways it can be reclaimed. If the surplus is large and is higher the amount of the Direct Payment over 6 months it will be raised as an invoice. The invoice needs to be paid directly from the Direct Payment account.
If the surplus will take less than 6 months to offset against ongoing payments then it will be applied as an adjustment and you will receive reduced payments for up to 6 months. The contingency amount will reduce over those 6 months, and so once the payments go back to the original amount the contingency amount should be no more than 6 weeks worth of the Direct Payment.
For example, if the weekly Direct Payment amount was £100, and the client contribution was £20 then we are paying £80 per week, and £320 every 4 weeks.
The maximum contingency allowed in the Direct Payment account is (6 x £100) £600. If the amount in the Direct Payment account was £2000 and there were no outstanding invoices to pay, then there is an unrequired surplus of (£2000 - £600) £1400.
As the 4-weekly amount paid is £320 then the £1400 can be reclaimed over the next 5 payments by reducing the payment to £40 each 4 weeks:
Number of payment periods x 4-weekly amount: 5 x £320 = £1600,
Total to be paid over 5 periods – amount to be reclaimed: £1600 - £1400 = £200
Amount to be paid over following pay periods / number of pay periods: £200 / 5 = £40
In the 6th month the payment would go back to the original amount of £320, and the contingency should have reduced as it is used to pay for the ongoing care.
Who can I contact for more advice?
You can contact the Adult Contact Centre call 01905 768053.
Alternatively for further information, advice and guidance on Direct payments, please contact Barrie Bookkeeping and Payroll solutions on 01902 912896 or via their website at Barrie Bookkeeping & Payroll Solutions.
If you have an issue about the Direct Payment account balance please contact your social work team.
If you have a general query about your ongoing Direct Payment please contact the Customer Contact Centre on 01905 844543.
If you have an issue accessing your Prepayment account including passwords or PINS please contact PFS-Customer Services on 0207 127 0743.