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eleafletWill my local council give me money to pay for care?

The council must offer you the option of 'direct payments' - money you use to buy your own care. If you are a carer, you may also be able to get direct payments so you can pay for some care services yourself.

Will my local council give me money to pay for care?

The council itself can provide the services in your care plan (or with, for example, voluntary organisations). It must also offer you the option of 'direct payments' - money you use to buy your own care (if you meet certain conditions).  If you are a carer, you may also be able to get direct payments to pay for care services.


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What are direct payments?

Direct payments are funds that you can use to pay for almost any care you need. For example, if you can't do your shopping alone, you could use a direct payment to pay someone to do it for you, or to help you do it yourself by paying for a taxi or home delivery. Or you could use a direct payment to pay for some care while your carer has a break.

If you use direct payments, it may mean you have to become an employer. This involves having to sort out contracts and deduct tax and national insurance from the money you pay people. For help and advice on this, contact your local council or the National Centre for Independent Living.

  • If you want a direct payment but your local council refuses, you can object, using the complaints procedure.

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Can I use direct payments for all my care?

You can't normally use direct payments:

  • to pay for a permanent place in a care home, or
  • to buy care from your local council,  or
  • to pay for care provided for you by your husband, wife, civil partner or other partner, or a close relative who lives with you  (though the local council can make an exception to paying them where, for example, it feels that a close family member is the only person who can meet your specific needs).

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What if I don't want to get direct payments anymore?

You can decide at any time that you don't want to get direct payments any more, and would rather have services arranged for you.


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Can the council stop my direct payments?

The council can stop giving you direct payments if it thinks that:

  • your needs are no longer being met, or
  • you can't manage your payments, or
  • you aren't spending the money properly.

However, before it stops the money, it should warn you and give you the chance to discuss the matter and put right any problems you are having.


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My social worker talked about a personal budget. What is this?

Local councils are gradually moving to a system of personal budgets for care, so you may be offered one. The idea is that you will have more control and more choice over the care that you get.

Social services will work out a 'personal budget' that can be allocated to your care. This takes into account your individual needs and finances. You can 'spend' this budget on services from the council, if you choose, or you can get direct payments to pay for care privately - or a combination of the two.


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What you can do now:

  • Find out about your local council's 'needs assessments' by entering your postcode here: Find out about a needs assessment by social services
  • Get help and advice from Age UK. (the new organisation formed by AgeConcern and Help the Aged)
  • Contact your local Age UK office for a benefits check. Find your local office
  • Speak to your social worker about direct payments
  • Call the Disability and Carers Service for information on Carers Allowance on their freephone line 0800 88 22 00.  Textphone 0800 24 33 55
  • Call the National Centre for Independent Living Advice Line on 0845 026 4748
  • Get advice now by calling 08001 225 6653.

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