Personal budgets and direct payments

Personal budgets and direct payments

Personal budgets
A central part of the personalisation agenda, personal budgets are an amount of money councils can allocate to help people who due to disability, frailty or vulnerability, get the support they want. Councils will be working in a different way, in order to give people who use services more choice and control over how money they are entitled to is spent.

Direct payments
You must be assessed by Adult Social Care to see if you eligible for services (or direct payments to buy them). If you are, you may be able to receive a direct payment to organise your own care. A direct payment could cover all or part of your care needs. A direct payment is money from a council’s social services department to cover a specific assessed need.

A direct payment must cover a specific assessed need and can be used, for example, for:

  • employing a personal assistant to help with care needs
  • employing a home care worker
  • employing a live-in care-worker
  • short stays in a care home for no more than 4 weeks
  • day care
  • equipment to meet your care needs that would be provided by the council
  • or other services or items that would meet your assessed need.

Direct payments are intended to support adults in independent living, so you cannot use them to pay for permanent accommodation in a care home or care home with nursing.

If you are applying for services for the first time, your social worker should discuss the direct payments option with you when they assess your care needs.

Direct payments are paid straight into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account.

Individual Service Funds (ISFs)
An ISF is used when someone’s personal budget (or a proportion of that budget) is lodged with a chosen provider on their behalf. The individual remains in ultimate control of how their money is spent.