What is a Direct Payment?
Direct Payments are cash sums that your local Council can pay to
people who are ill or disabled to enable them to buy the care and
support they need. Under the law, Councils must offer the
option of Direct Payments to any eligible person who requests
Why should I have a Direct Payment?
Direct Payments allow you to take more of the decisions that
affect your life. They give you more choice and control of
your own care. For example, with Direct Payments you can
employ the person or agency you choose, decide on the hours of
employment and the tasks you want completed.
Who can receive Direct Payments?
People who are eligible for adult care services can receive
If you are not already receiving adult care services, somebody
from the social work team will first undertake an assessment to
identify your care and support needs and discuss these with
you. If this shows that you entitled to adult care services
you then have a right to ask to be considered for Direct Payments
instead of Bedford Borough Council arranging services for you.
You may need the care services because you:
- are aged 16 and over and have a disability or illness (this can
include learning disabilities and mental health problems)
- have parental responsibility for a disabled child or children;
- are a carer aged 16 and over
You must also:
- be willing to have Direct Payments
- agree that you understand what having Direct Payments entails;
- be able to manage the payments either alone or with help
note - from November 2009 all local councils must also
offer direct payments to people who lack mental capacity.
This means people who are unable to decide for themselves whether
or not to receive direct payments. You may be able to help
someone you know in this position by receiving and managing a
direct payment on his or her behalf.
How can I use Direct Payments?
You must use the Direct Payments to pay for services
that meet your social care needs as identified in your assessment
and agreed with your care worker, but how you choose to meet those
needs will be up to you to decide.
If you are already receiving care services arranged by the
Council you can change to receiving Direct Payments to buy these
services elsewhere. You will always have the right to return
to services arranged by the Council if you prefer. You can
have a mixture of Direct Payments and services arranged for
you. If you wish to buy services from the Council or a
permanent placement in a registered care home we will make the
payment directly to your chosen provider.
What kind of support can I get with Direct Payments?
Bedford Borough Council has approved some
organisations, which are independent from the Council, to provide a
Direct Payments Support Service. This
includes a range of services to help you set up and manage your
Direct Payments, including, for example:
- help to identify services you might be interested
- advice and assistance with recruiting and employing
your own staff, including payroll support - more information on
employing a personal assistant is
- help to identify other suitable agencies if this
- many other matters relating to using Direct
Your care worker can provide details of these
We encourage all eligible service users to opt
for direct payments as a means of meeting their care and support
needs. If in the end you decide it is not for you, you will
still be able to receive care services provided for you.
Direct payments support services
A guide to
receiving direct payments from your local council
A guide to
getting direct payments from your local council - easy read
Skills for care toolkit - support people to employ their own