What are Direct Payments?

Direct Payments are regular money payments made directly to you. The payments are for you to use to choose, arrange and pay for the care and support you want to meet your assessed needs. Direct payments are a type of personal budget. You can choose to receive Direct Payments instead of receiving commissioned services straight from the Local Authority.


Why choose Direct Payments?

Direct Payments give disabled people, parents of disabled children, older people and carers more flexibility in how their care and support services are provided, allowing you to have your needs met in a way that suits you. It’s about having choices to be able to decide what support is right for you and having the control to receive this support when, where and how you want it. You can use a Direct Payment in many ways to meet your assessed needs for example:

  • Employ a personal assistant (PA) who can provide personal care (such as help to wash, dress or meal preparation) or support to get out about in the community, helping you to do everyday things.
  • Directly pay an agency of your choice to provide you with a PA to do the tasks that you choose at the times that you need
  • Pay for day services or courses that help to meet your needs
  • Pay for short breaks that provide respite in a way that best helps you
  • Buy equipment or items that will help you
  • Direct Payments can be used for anything that the Local Authority agrees meets your assessed needs.

You can find more detailed information about getting Direct Payments from your Local Authority (council) by visiting the Department of Health website.


How do I get a Direct Payment?

Direct Payments are available to everybody who has eligible care needs including:

  • Disabled adults over 16 years
  • Parents of disabled children
  • Disabled parents of a child
  • Carers
  • People with learning disabilities, mental health or emotional support needs

A Direct Payment can be made to a nominated person on behalf of the person with the eligible needs in some circumstances, such as if that person is unable to manage the Direct Payment themselves.

If you are already receiving care services from your local authority then you can choose to change to Direct Payments by contacting your local authority social services team.

If you feel you need support but do not currently receive care services then the first step is to ask for an assessment of your needs by contacting your local authority social services team above.

WECIL provides Advocates for those being assessed who can support you through the assessment process helping you feel able to express your needs fully and ensure that you are fully listened to and understood.

Once you have been offered a direct payment you will be put in touch with the Direct Payment Support Service who will help you to set up and manage your direct payment scheme. If you live in Bristol, South Glos or are a parent of a disabled child in BANES, then ask your local authority to refer you to WECIL for Direct Payment support. You can also contact us directly to discuss how we can support you.


Will I pay towards the cost of my Direct Payment?

Whether or not you pay towards your Direct Payment (DP) will depend on your personal circumstances. Some people do not pay anything towards the cost of their care, for example children and families who are receiving a DP will not pay towards the cost of a DP. Once your DP has been agreed you will receive a financial assessment by your Local Authority. This is to find out whether you are able to contribute towards the cost of your care. If you do not agree with the outcome of the financial assessment you are able to appeal the decision.

WECIL’s Advocacy service can offer support with this process if needed.


What is WECIL’s Direct Payment Support Service (DPSS)?

The Direct Payment Support Service provides information, advice and support to people who are receiving or considering receiving Direct Payments (DP’s) from their Local Authority. If you are going to be receiving Direct Payments then you are entitled to receive this support to help get you started.

WECIL has been providing Direct Payment Support Services to disabled people and carers for twenty years. We were involved in setting up the very first Direct Payments in our area and have supported nearly 2000 people across the South West to receive and manage their Direct Payments.


Do I pay for Direct Payment Support?

You will not pay towards the cost of this type of support; this is paid by your Local Authority. In some areas, the local authority will give you the money to buy your DP support from us; in other areas the local authority will pay us directly for your DP support.


How will WECIL’s Direct Payment Support Service support me?

Our service supports you to set up and manage your Direct Payment (DP) with confidence, so that you can get the most out of your scheme, having choice and control about how your needs are met and the care you receive.

The support we provide will be personal to you, and we can provide as much or as little support as you feel you need. Here are some of the things that we can support you with:

  • To start receiving your DP funding into a new bank account
  • Understanding how your DP money can be used and what records you must keep
  • Recruiting & employing a personal assistant (PA)
  • Understanding your responsibilities as an employer
  • Registering as an employer and arranging a payroll service
  • Budgeting your DP money and planning the amount of support you need
  • Information, advice and training on managing your staff
  • Peer support events and networks so you can speak to other people about receiving Direct Payments


How long will WECIL support me for?

When you start to receive a DP we will work with you to set up and understand the DP scheme. This can include visits and phone calls. After this time many people are confident to manage their DP scheme.

Some people need support for longer and may want to have regular ongoing contact with us to help manage the DP. We can provide as much or as little ongoing support as you need; if you need ongoing support we can help you to discuss this with the local authority who can agree for us to provide you with ongoing support.


What if I find it hard to manage my Direct Payment?

WECIL can provide ongoing support if you need it, we can help you to discuss this with your local authority.

We can also provide a managed Direct Payment account; we call this our ‘On Behalf of Service’ (OBO).

This means that we manage the money side of things for you so that there is no need to get too involved in things like making payments to staff or paying tax.

An OBO can be helpful to some people, for example if:

  • You have had problems managing money in the past
  • You cannot get a bank account or do not want a bank account
  • You simply do not have the time to manage this side of things
  • Managing the money is too confusing for you

The local authority may feel that you need a managed account in order to receive Direct Payments; if this is the case they will arrange with us to provide an OBO account for you and they will pay the cost of this service.

If you feel an OBO account would be helpful to you but the local authority do not think it is necessary, we may still be able to provide an OBO account and can support you to discuss with the local authority whether you are able to use some of your Direct Payment funding to purchase this service. You can also choose to pay for this service from your own money.


Contact us

For more information or to start using our service, contact WECIL’s Direct Payments Support Service team on:

Telephone: 0117 947 99 33

Email: dpsupport@wecil.co.uk



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