National Care Standards: Care homes for people with learning disabilities

National Care Standards: Care homes for people with learning disabilities Edition

Annex D : What are direct payments (for self-directed care)?

Direct payments (cash) enable self-directed care, i.e. you direct and manage the care services you have been assessed as needing, instead of receiving services arranged by the local authority. They are one way of increasing the flexibility, choice, and control you have over the community care you receive, in order to help you live more independently. The social work department assesses you as needing care services, and you can decide to become responsible for buying some or all of the care that you need. This can make a real difference as you can decide who comes into you house to provide support, and the priority given to different tasks in any given day, such as when you go to bed at night. As long as the money is used to meet your assessed care needs, it is up to you how it is spent.

To be eligible to receive direct payments you must be:

  • a disabled adult or child, or an older person aged 65+;
  • assessed as needing community care or children's services;
  • able to consent to arrangements; and
  • able to manage direct payments, with or without assistance.

You cannot receive direct payments if you are:

  • subject to certain mental health or criminal justice legislation.

You can use direct payments for the following:

  • buying a homecare package from an agency or voluntary organisation;
  • employing your own personal assistants ( PAs);
  • equipment and temporary adaptations;
  • short respite breaks (there are limits on the length of respite that can be bought);
  • children's services that your child may require if you are a disabled parent;
  • housing support services; and
  • local authority care services (your own local authority or a neighbouring one).

You cannot use direct payments to:

  • employ certain categories of close relative; or
  • purchase permanent residential care places.

Your local authority must be satisfied that:

  • the arrangements you make will meet your assessed needs;
  • you are in control of how the money is spent;
  • appropriate records are being kept either by you or your nominated agent/s (for example a payroll service); and
  • you are getting best value for the money you are spending.

If you want to know more about direct payments, there are people who can help. If you're already getting care, you can speak to your care manager or home care organiser. In addition, Direct Payments Scotland, SPAEN and the Scottish Helpline for Older People (see below) can offer independent advice and put you in contact with local support organisations which can offer practical help ( e.g. pre-assessment support, a payroll service).

Direct Payments Scotland and UPDATE
27 Beaverhall Road

Tel: 0131 558 5200
Fax: 0131 558 5201
Minicom: 0131 558 5202

Scottish Personal Assistant Employers Network ( SPAEN)
Unit 9
Motherwell Business Centre
Coursington Road

Tel: 01698 250280
Fax: 01698 250236

The Scottish Helpline for Older People ( SHOP)
Tel: 0845 125 9732 (open 10am to 4pm, Mon to Fri; calls are charged at local rate).
Textphone: 0845 226 5851

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