Care Act 2014
Care Act Personal Budgets and Payments
Care and support in England is changing for the better and the Care Act is helping to make care and support more consistent across the country.
'Care and support' is the term which describes the help some adults need to live as well as possible with any illness or disability they may have. It can include help with things like washing, dressing, eating, getting out and about and keeping in touch with friends and family.
If you have care and support needs, or you support someone as a carer, you could benefit from the changes.
For the first time, the Care Act provides a legal entitlement to Personal Budgets. This ensures that person centred care and support arrangements are developed as widely as possible. Your social worker will help you understand the different options for arranging and paying for your own care and support needs. These personalised approaches are set out below.
If you have difficulty in understanding personal budgets and other options for paying for care, you can ask for an independent advocate who can help you to arrange care which best fits around your life.
A personal budget is money that the Council gives you to pay for any care and support that you need. Your community care assessment will help you decide what services will help you live a life that’s as full and safe as possible. Then, your care worker will talk with you about paying your personal budget as a direct payment.
Direct payments give you lots of control over your care and support. You can decide how your needs are met and buy the support that suits you best.
It’s important to spend your direct payments carefully, making sure that you cover all the needs shown in your assessment. Your care worker will help you make your decisions and our Direct Payments Team is here to help with questions about your payments. Most people prefer us to pay their money as a ‘direct payment’.
Managing your money
There are different ways to receive your direct payments. We will help you to choose the option that is safe and easy for you to manage and gives you as much independence as possible.
- An Instant Access Account: the council will help you protect your account and keep track of your spending.
- A Standard Direct Payment: you take responsibility for keeping spending records which the council will check.
- An Indirect Payment: a relative, or advocate takes responsibility for keeping spending records which the council will check.
- An Individual Service Fund (ISF): payments are made to your care and support provider who will manage them in line with your assessment.
There are a few rules about how you can spend your direct payment but as long as your spending is legal and relates to the care and support needs as agreed in your care plan, it is usually fine.
We will need to see you within the first 6-8 weeks after your first direct payment and again if you need more help or advice. We will then review your payment regularly (at least once a year).
If you would like any additional information, please speak to our Gateway to Care Team on 01422 393000 who will be happy to help.