Accessibility Options

What is Direct Payment?

Direct Payment is an amount of money for you to arrange and purchase your care and support yourself, putting you in control of your personal budget. Enabling you to have more choice and independence about how your care is organised.

Am I eligible?

Direct Payment is available to people (including carers) who qualify for support from us and who are either:

  • aged 16 or over with a physical disability, learning disability, visual impairment, HIV Aids, mental health issues, or within the Autistic spectrum
  • people over 65
  • parent/carers of disabled children
  • carers aged 16 and over

We have to follow set guidance to work out who qualifies for support. To work out just how much support is required, we need to carry out an assessment. We will talk to you about what you want to achieve and the different ways that the personal budget money could be used to support your needs. This will be written down in a document called a support plan. You can choose to take some, or your entire personal budget as a Direct Payment to buy and organise the agreed services yourself or you can ask us to use your personal budget to arrange services for you.

How do you work out my personal budget?

We will ask you to complete a financial assessment. We will work out the likely cost of your assessed needs and how much we can provide towards it. This is called a personal budget. You may need to make a financial contribution towards your personal budget depending on your financial circumstances.

Carers who have a personal budget will not need to complete a financial assessment or make a financial contribution.

How can I use Direct Payment?

  • You must use a Direct Payment to meet the needs and things you want to achieve written down in your support plan.
  • You must spend your Direct Payment lawfully and in a cost-effective way.

Direct Payment cannot be used for:

  • Anything not agreed in your support plan.
  • Paying a family member or partner living at the same address.
  • Purchasing any local authority in-house services, including transport.
  • Purchasing equipment or services provided by health services.
  • Purchasing any housing service or residential care.

The law allows the Council to ask you to repay a Direct Payment if it has been used for any of the five items above.

Who can advise and support me?

Purple is contracted by the Council to provide a Direct Payment support service. They will meet with you and provide a free Direct Payment information and advice visit and can help you with:

  • Financial management and record keeping.
  • Effective use of banking facilities.
  • Financial monitoring requirements.
  • Help with the legal and practical issues of being an employer.
  • Advice in setting up emergency procedures and back-up cover.

They can also assist you with recruitment and employment issues.

Supported accounts

You can arrange to have your Direct Payment paid into a Third Party Supported Account managed by Purple on your behalf. This means Purple carries out financial transactions on your instructions, pays wages directly into your care or support workers’ bank accounts and provides you with a monthly statement of your account. There is an administration charge for payroll services and Third Party Supported Accounts. If you have been assessed as needing support to manage your Direct Payment account the charge can be paid from your Direct Payment money.

Using Direct Payment to employ personal assistants

Some people use Direct Payment to employ their own staff (personal assistants) to provide care and support. They can help you with parts of your support plan such as:

  • personal care (e.g. washing and dressing)
  • household tasks
  • activities outside the home, such as taking you to appointments and community events.

If you wish to employ your own care or support worker, Purple can assist you with recruitment and all employment issues.

If you choose to manage this yourself, it is your responsibility to be aware of, and adhere to current employment laws and register with HMRC as an employer.

You will be responsible for all aspects of employment. You will need to be aware of how to manage payments for PAYE, National Insurance and all statutory entitlements for employees.

This also applies to carers who choose to use their personal budget to employ staff.

If you fail to meet your obligations as an employer, your Direct Payment may be ended. Some people prefer to use private care agencies as this provides some control without the added responsibilities of employing staff. You must be certain that the amount of Direct Payment you receive covers agency fees or be willing to make up the difference yourself.

We do not encourage using Direct Payment to pay self-employed carers and recommend that you contact Purple for advice:

Postal address: Purple, Stirling House, Denny End Road, Waterbeach, Cambridgeshire, CB25 9QE
Telephone: 01245 392 300
Email: [email protected] 

Using Direct Payment to buy support from companies

Independent providers are companies that provide services such as home care, respite care or day care.

This option means that you get to choose which company will provide you with care and support, rather than us choosing the company for you. You can also have more control over when your care is provided.

If you use your Direct Payment to pay a provider, we will always want to be sure that you are using a provider who offers a good standard of care and is registered with the Care Quality Commission. Your Key Worker can tell you about the range of providers in your area or you can find care services on NHS Choices.

Direct Payment for equipment

Your assessment may show that you need a further assessment by an Occupational Therapist to identify what sort of equipment will help you live more independently. Direct Payment for this equipment is a separate one-off payment. 

Direct Payment for carers

If you are looking after someone else in their own home, that is, providing regular unpaid care for a relative or friend, you will be offered a carers assessment which will determine if you are eligible for help from us. This is where we look at your needs, together with those of the person you care for, and agree what support we can offer you.

Planning for emergencies

If you receive Direct Payment, it is vital that you make arrangements to meet any emergencies; for example, if one of your personal assistants/support workers can't work.

Your Key Worker will discuss your emergency arrangements before your Direct Payment is agreed and can give you a list of agencies who can help you in an emergency. Penderels Trust can also help you put together an emergency plan.

If you emergency plans break down, the Council is responsible for arranging services for you to cover the emergency. You should contact your Key Worker or Customer Services.

How do I apply for Direct Payment?

If you would like to try Direct Payment, you should talk it over with your Key Worker and with Purple.

Authorised person to consent and manage Direct Payment

People who lack the mental capacity to express their wishes or preferences about the support they receive can arrange for their personal budget to be paid to a suitable authorised person. This is a trusted person who will make decisions about how the Direct Payment is best used. This can be especially useful for people with severe learning disabilities, head injuries or dementia.

Other options allow individuals to nominate an authorised person to manage payments on their behalf, or to request that the local authority continues to manage the money in accordance with the support plan.

We must be sure that it would be in their best interests to have Direct Payment and that the authorised person will act properly.

Exclusions for Direct Payment

Some people are excluded from receiving Direct Payment by legislation. This includes people who are subject to compulsory measures of care under mental health and criminal justice legislation.

Setting up your Direct Payment

You will be required to sign an agreement that outlines the terms and conditions of Direct Payment.

You will need a separate bank account specifically for your Direct Payment, this is so that you can easily show how the money is being used and that it is in line with your agreed support plan.

Carers will not need to open a separate bank account for their Direct Payment but can choose to have it paid into their own account or paid into their cared for person’s Direct Payment bank account. Carers may wish to do this where they have a joint support plan with the person they care for. Carers must use the Direct Payment for their own needs and not for the cared for person’s needs.

Your Key Worker can explain your agreement to you to make sure that you understand it before you sign it and explain more about setting up a bank account or you can use our contracted Direct Payment support service, Purple.

Direct Payment monitoring form guide

For help completing the monitoring form

Size: 38.03 KB File format: pdf

Contact us

Speak to your Key Worker or contact Customer Services:


Email: [email protected]

Telephone: 0345 045 5202
8am to 6pm Monday to Friday
9am to 1pm on Saturday

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