Direct payments

A direct payment (DP) is money given to you by social care and/or the NHS if they have assessed you need help. You can use it to buy services that meet your needs instead of receiving services directly from social care or the NHS

A direct payment (DP) can be used for services such as to buy a short break activity, to employ a personal assistant or buy services from an agency.  You can receive DP:

  • if you are a parent/carer for a disabled child under 16 who is eligible for social care support
  • if you are a young person with a disability aged 16 years and over and assessed by the council as needing care and support to promote your independence.

A DP gives you choice and control over how your care and support is arranged and provided.  You may be able to use your DP to pay for the same services you received as a child when you turn 18.

How does it work?

If you currently receive support from social care and would like to switch to direct payments, then you should contact your social worker. Your social worker should discuss the option of direct payments with you if you are being assessed for support for the first time.

The amount of money you receive for a direct payment will be decided once the social worker assesses you. This assessment will be used to calculate a personal budget and the amount of money required to meet your needs. Then you can decide whether to receive this as a direct payment.

A direct payment can be paid via:

  • a pre-paid card (PPC) - this is a pre-loaded card which works in a similar way to a bank debit card; or
  • through an agency - if you choose to use an agency, you will still have choice and control over who provides care and support. The agency will complete the forms on your behalf to show what they have spent money on.

Who is involved?

For more information about direct payments, you can speak to your social worker.

The role of parents and carers

If you are under 16, your parent/carer will receive and manage the direct payment. Once you have turned 16, provided you have capacity, you will receive the direct payment. However, parents/carers can support you in deciding what care and support you might wish to arrange.

Related links

Direct payments - under the age of 18

Direct payments - aged 18 and over