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Social care direct payments

Information about how you can arrange your own support by using a direct payment.

We are currently undergoing a review of our Direct Payments Service and would like to hear your views and experience. If you'd consider completing this survey, then please visit: Direct payments 'What Matters' - have your say

If you are eligible for support from Social Services, you may prefer to arrange your own support, rather than have services provided or arranged by us in order to have more flexibility, choice or control. We may be able to make a payment to you which will enable you to do this. This is called a 'direct payment'.

Before you can receive a direct payment you would have to be assessed by Social Services and be eligible to receive services.

Direct payments increase your independence and choice by giving you the control to purchase and manage your own support to meet the need identified in your assessment. For example you might:

  • employ someone directly to help with your care (a personal assistant);
  • buy care from a private registered care agency;
  • make your own arrangements instead of using Social Services day care or respite care.

It is possible to have some of your care needs provided by Social Services and arrange others yourself using a direct payment. 

Who can have a direct payment?

Direct payments can be offered to almost everyone who is eligible to receive social care services. In a very few cases, Court Orders relating to drug/alcohol dependency may mean that a direct payment is not possible.

Usually you can have a direct payment from the age of 16. There is  no upper age limit. A parent carer can receive a direct payment to provide support for a child under 18.

How do I get a direct payment?

In order for you to get a direct payment, you first need an assessment of your care or support needs by Social Services.

If you are eligible to receive services and choose to have a direct payment, your social worker or care manager will discuss with you what personal outcomes you would like to achieve and agree how much money you would get as a direct payment. You can then work out a plan of how your care or support needs can be met. This is called a support plan. It is for you to decide what should be in your support plan, but if you wish you can have help from your social worker or care manager, from the Independent Living Team or from family and friends. So long as the identified objectives are met, you can be as creative as you wish in putting together the support arrangements.

Social Services will then pay money into a separate bank account which you will need to set up. You then use this to pay for your support arrangements.

If you have already had an assessment, and are already receiving services, you can switch to direct payments if you wish. Talk to your social worker or care manager.

If you have been told that you are not eligible to receive a service, we will not be able to give you a direct payment.

Request an assessment of your care or support needs Care and support assessments for adults

Managing direct payments

With the choice and flexibility offered by direct payments, there are also responsibilities.

Examples of direct payments in use

Direct payments can be used in several different ways, we have provided you with a list of examples.

Employing someone as a social care personal assistant

Information and resources for employers of social care personal assistants.

Using direct payments to pay for domiciliary care

Information for people who use, or are thinking about using, a direct payment to pay for domiciliary care services.

Direct payments frequently asked questions

Questions which are often asked when people are considering a direct payment instead of services.

Common Access Point for Health and Social Care (CAP)

We aim to provide adults and their carers with the right support at the right time by the right person.

Direct Payments Team

Direct Payments increase your independence and choice by giving you the control to purchase and manage your own support to meet the needs identified in your assessment.


Independent and professional support to help you understand your rights, make informed decisions about your life, and support you to speak up about things that matter to you.
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