What direct payments can be used for
Direct payments can be used to buy services from an organisation or to employ somebody to provide assistance. As a carer, you can use a direct payment to purchase the services you are assessed as needing to support you in your caring role.
This includes support that may help maintain your health and well-being. For example, driving lessons or a holiday so you can have time to yourself. If you are assessed as needing domestic help, you may ask for a direct payment and buy the support services you need.
Direct payments - money from the local Trust to pay for care services - are not the same as Direct Payment. Direct Payment is pensions and benefits paid directly into an account.
What direct payments cannot be used for
You cannot use direct payments to buy services for the person you care for. They can only be spent on getting the support you, as a carer, have been assessed as needing.
You also cannot use direct payments to secure a service from your spouse or civil partner, close relatives or anyone who lives in the same household as you - unless that person is someone who you have specifically recruited to be a live-in employee. There can be exceptional circumstances which your local Trust may agree with you.
If you already receive social services
Your local Trust has to offer you the option of direct payments in place of the services you currently receive. Under some circumstances you cannot get direct payments. Your local Trust will be able to tell you about these.
If you're not receiving social services
To get direct payments you will need to contact your local Trust to ask them to assess your needs.
Direct payments for people with disabilities
Direct payments are also available for people with disabilities who have been assessed as needing help from social services. If you have parental responsibility for a child with disabilities, direct payments that can be used for a variety of services for your child can be made to you.
How much you can get
The amount you receive will depend on the assessment your local Trust makes of your needs. Direct payments are made directly into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings account.
Effect on other benefits
Direct payments do not affect any other benefits you may be receiving.
How to apply for direct payments locally
If you already get services from your local Trust, ask about direct payments. If you are applying for services for the first time, your local Trust should discuss the direct payments option with you when they assess your needs.
What to do if your circumstances change
If the needs of the person you care for change - for better or for worse, in the long or short-term - contact your local Trust as soon as possible so that they can reassess the level of payments you require.
Local Trusts can review direct payments as children's and families' needs change over time, just as they do when families are receiving services directly from a Trust.
Guide to receiving Direct Payments information booklet
The Guide to receiving Direct Payments booklet offers advice and information for those receiving Direct Payments or those thinking about requesting or accepting Direct Payments.