Direct Payments

If you need care in your own home you may be eligible to receive payments from either social services or the Independent Living Fund. Below is a brief outline of each.

Direct payments are monetary payments by local councils direct to individuals who have been assessed as needing care services, including those that find themselves caring for others.

Direct payments help people who want to manage their own support to improve their quality of life. They are designed to promote independence, choice and inclusion by enabling people to purchase the assistance or service that the council would otherwise provide, in order to live in their own homes, be fully involved in family and community life and to engage in work, education and leisure.

The government is eager to increase the number of people who receive direct payments, thereby increasing the number of people have access to the benefits that they bring. As such social services departments are now duty bound to consider direct payments for almost all service users who have been assessed as needing care.

What are the benefits of Direct Payment?

The direct payment system allows you to:

  • Have a greater input into what care you need
  • Decide who you want to provide that care
  • Arrange services and staff at times more convenient to your lifestyle
  • Decide whether you want to employ an agency or your own staff

How do I know I am eligible?

Your first point of contact should be your local social services, who will send a social worker to assess your care needs. Provided they find that you are eligible to receive help from social services, you are then entitled to ask to receive direct payments to purchase your own care rather than social services providing the care.

Eligible individuals include:

  • Older and disabled people aged 16 and over, assessed as needing care.
  • A person with parental responsibility for a child assessed as needing care.
  • Carers aged 16 and over.

I'm not sure I can manage a direct payment on my own

As well as giving you the option of receiving a direct payment, social services will usually offer their own support services, or be able to refer you to a local support group, to help you set your care up. They may even be able to provide care for you whilst you arrange your own care. The type of services provided can be from a list of local domiciliary care providers to advice on writing your own job advertisements and employing your own staff. You are also entitled to enlist the help of a responsible individual of your choosing, which may be a close friend or relative, to help you manage the direct payment scheme.

The care provider I want to use charges more than my direct payment

As you are effectively purchasing your own services, if you so wish, you can add your own funds to your direct payment to purchase services above the value of your direct payment. This allows you not only to buy your care from the person or organisation you prefer, but also to buy services in addition to those you care assessment states, should you wish to. For further information on Direct Payments contact your local social services, or visit The DoH Easy Guide to Direct Payments.

Independent Living Funds

The Independent Living Funds were set up and are funded by central government. They are intended to support people with disabilities so they can live independently at home, rather than in residential care.

The funds make payments to people with disabilities so they can afford to employ personal assistants or a care agency to provide the support they need to remain at home. This care may include the employment and associated employment costs of personal assistants or care agencies to help you with personal domestic tasks in your home.

There are many things which the fund cannot be used to pay for, to understand what cannot be paid for with the fund, contact the fund direct on 0845 601 8815.

Am I eligible to receive payments from the Fund?

To be eligible to receive payments from the fund the person applying must:

  • be a UK resident.
  • be aged between 16 and 66.
  • receive, or have underlying entitlement to, the highest rate care component of Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
  • receive support from their Local Authority Social Services Department to the value of at least 200 per week.
  • have capital of less than 18,500.
  • expect to live at home independently for at least the next six months.

For further information on your eligibility contact the Independent Living Funds directly on 0845 601 8815

Funding FAQ