What are Direct Payments?
Direct Payments are monetary amounts given to you, the service user or your representative, by the Council so that you can arrange and manage your own care and support needs, in the case of a carer their support needs, in order to achieve your personal well-being outcomes.
Why would I choose a Direct Payment?
Direct payments give you the opportunity to use your choice, voice and control as you are the person who decides, how your care and support needs, or in the case of a carer they will decide how their support needs, are met in order to achieve personal well-being outcomes, instead of relying on the social services department to do this for you.
How do I request a Direct Payment?
In order to determine if you are eligible to receive social care services, including direct payments, a social care worker will carry out a needs assessment to identify the outcomes you or a carer, wish to achieve in your/their day to day life and what care and support, or in the case of a carer what support, could contribute in order to achieve those outcomes.
If following the needs assessments, the social care worker identifies that you are eligible to receive care and support, or in the case of a carer support, in order to meet your personal well-being outcomes, the suitability of a direct payment will be discussed with you at this point together with options of what other services are also available to you.
Who is eligible to receive Direct Payments?
Most people who have been identified as having a care and support need, or in the case of a carer support, will be eligible to receive a direct payment, however there may be some instances where certain conditions must be met e.g. a person who is drug or alcohol dependant may receive a direct payment as long as a ‘suitable person’ is identified and willing to manage the direct payments money and the employment related responsibilities, on the service users behalf.
What can I use my Direct Payment for?
Direct Payments can be used for you to:
- Employ someone direct i.e. a personal assistant
- Buy care from a private registered agency
- Purchasing equipment
It also gives you the opportunity to be creative in deciding what best suits your care and support needs, or in the case of a carer support, to achieve your personal well-being outcomes. So if you have any other ideas on how direct payments can be used for you, please discuss your ideas with your allocated social care worker. You a can also choose to have a mix of direct payments and services provided by the Council.
Accessing your community
Direct payments are also a way to assist you in being able to access your community as you may decide to employ a person to take you to, your chosen place of worship, the library, the supermarket, adult education classes, or attend activity led events, etc.
What are my responsibilities?
If you choose to receive direct payments you will be responsible for ensuring that the money you receive from the Council is spent on your care and support needs, or in the case of a carer, support in order to achieve your personal well-being outcomes. You will also need to keep auditable records of how the money is spent i.e. timesheets, invoices, bank statements, cheque book, receipts, PAYE related information, etc.
Employing a person
If you decide this is the best option for you, you may already have a person in mind who you would like to become your personal assistant or you may want help in finding someone, either way the direct payments team can support you with the recruitment process.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS)
In order to ensure DBS compliance as per the new Social Services & Well Being Act 2014, if you employ a personal assistant they will need to have a DBS check, which will be renewable every 3 years.
Will Direct Payments affect my benefits? No
Direct Payments do not affect your benefits at all as they are not classed as income for tax purposes. However, if you employ a person and they are on benefits, their benefits may be affected, so they will need to inform the relevant benefit agency that their circumstances have changed.
Will I have to pay anything?
If you receive direct payments you may be asked to make a contribution towards the cost of your care and support. However this will depend on your personal circumstances and is calculated in accordance with Social Services charging policy. A financial assessment will need to be carried out by an officer from the income team, to determine whether or not, you need to make a financial contribution towards the cost of your care and support.
Direct Payments Team
Telephone: (01495) 355265
Name of Team: C2BG
Telephone: (01495) 315700
Fax: (01495) 353350
Minicom: (01495) 355959
Address: Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Civic Centre, Ebbw Vale, Gwent, NP23 6XB