Direct payments for social care

What does it do?

Direct payments give you the choice of receiving cash payments instead of, or as well as, our services. It gives you control of who provides your support and when and how it is delivered. Direct payments allow you to employ the people or buy the services that you have been assessed as needing.

Direct payments FAQ

1. What are the criteria for direct payments?

To be eligible for Direct Payments you have to be assessed as being eligible to receive our support. For more information on the assessment process please see how our services work. You also need to be willing to manage the scheme or have someone who can help you manage.

2. Are direct payments available to carers?

Many older and disabled people receive direct payments, and carers may assist them to manage the scheme. However, if you are a carer who has had a carer’s assessment and who is eligible for our support, you can request direct payments in respect of your own needs. This will be independent of services provided to the person you care for. If you are unsure whether you are eligible for our services please see our carer's assessment page.

3. How do direct payments work?
There are three ways to use direct payments. You can employ your own personal assistants to assist you in your caring role. This means you assume all the responsibilities of an employer. The money you are paid will need to cover all overheads including wages, advertising costs, tax and national insurance. If you do not want the responsibility of employing people directly you can use a care agency who will employ people on your behalf. The third option is to choose a mixed package of care. For example, you may decide to keep the day care facility that we provide but decide that some of your other needs may be better met through having direct payments.

4. What happens next?
See separate section

5. What is the role of the direct payment Support worker?
Support workers are experienced in direct payments and can advise you on the scheme. They can also help you decide what assistance you require and whether direct payments are suitable for your needs. Support Workers are employed independently of Health and social care. To find a Support worker you need to contact the Southampton Centre for Independent Living (SCIL) on 023 8033 0982. You can see their website by clicking the link on the right.

If you are a carer, Carers Together can provide you with a specialist direct payments worker. You can contact them on 0179 4519 495. You can see their website from the link on the right.

6. What is the role of the social worker or care manager?
A social worker/care manager’s role is to ensure that your needs as a carer are properly assessed and that direct payments are suitable to meet those assessed needs.

7. How long do I get to decide if I want to receive direct payments?
There is no time limit set. People can change their minds at any time to opt in or out of receiving direct payments.

8. Can I employ a relative with a direct payment?
On the whole, direct payments cannot be used to pay partners or close relatives who live at the same address as you. If Southampton City Council is satisfied that the service offered is best met by such a person, then an exception can be made.

9. How will direct payments fit in with my other benefits?

Who it is for?

for older people

Where it is available?

Local service (Southampton).

How to access or apply for it:

Contact us as below

What to expect then:

Once the assessment has been carried out and the funding has been agreed, you will receive a care plan, which explains what has been agreed. You will also receive a letter of agreement, which you will be required to sign. This will outline your responsibilities in accepting direct payments and our responsibilities in making them. As part of this agreement you will be required to keep records to show that the money has been spent appropriately. It will state how many hours of direct payments have been agreed and when payment will start.You will need to set up a separate bank or building society account for direct payments and a letter will then sent out to you with payment details and when the money will be paid into the account. Direct payments are paid in advance.You will need to show your social worker or care manager details of your account. Six monthly financial statements will be sent out and these need to be completed and returned with your bank statements. For further details on your roles and responsibilities see your direct payments Support worker who will be able to provide you with advice sheets.


Info last updated:

Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY