Direct payments ensure you have more independence, choice and control over your social care.
Under government legislation, we are allowed to make cash payments to some people instead of arranging a service. We have to offer direct payments to anyone who is eligible. Direct payments are not considered as income when you are assessed for welfare benefits.
Who can use this service
If you are 16 or over and have been assessed by Adult Social Care services as having eligible care and support needs, you can request to have a direct payment to manage your care services yourself.
You must also have:
- a physical disability
- a sensory disability
- a learning disability
- HIV or AIDS, or
- mental ill-health
Carers may be able to get direct payments to pay for services we currently arrange, if:
- you are the carer of a disabled child who has been assessed by our Adult Social Care services as needing a service
- you are aged 16 or 17
If you apply for direct payments, you must be considered by our Adult Social Care services to be willing and able to manage this yourself with or without assistance.
If you fit the above criteria but are not currently receiving services, you can request an assessment to see if your needs are eligible, under the Care Act 2014.
People who have not been assessed can also apply but will have to be assessed for services before their application for direct payments can be considered.
If you would like to be assessed for this service, contact the Lambeth Service Centre on 020 7926 5555.
Benefits of direct payments
Direct payments give you more flexibility over how your care and support is arranged and provided.
For example, you could choose to hire care workers or personal assistants who:
- are always the same people and available when you need them
- speak the same language as you
- have experience working with your care needs
- have been recommended to you
- can help you get to shops or social events
You can choose to have a direct payment for purchase services for all of your care and support needs, or you can request a blended service, where some services are commissioned by the council, and you receive a direct payment to arrange the other elements of your care and support.
What services direct payments can be used for
There are many ways you can choose to use the money. It's your choice, as long as you're spending your direct payment on things to meet the needs and outcomes identified in your care and support plan.
- personal care, such as help with dressing, washing, getting up, or eating meals
- practical care such as shopping, collecting benefits or pensions, help preparing meals, housework
- an opportunity for carers to have a break from their caring responsibilities
- day time activities, getting out and about, going to work, visiting a friend or relative, or going to leisure activities
- help to look after your child, if you are a disabled parent
- help to look after the person you care for, or to give you a break from caring, if you are a carer
In some cases, you may choose only to have direct payments for some of these services.
If you decide to use direct payments, you will be responsible for arranging your own services. These could include:
- recruiting and employing staff (you will be offered professional advice and support to help you with this)
- organising and managing day-to-day tasks for staff
- managing the payment of staff (this would be through a separate direct payment bank account, or through a third party payroll provider)
- keeping records of payments and submitting monitoring information to the council
You will be financially assessed in the normal way to establish how much, if anything, you will need to pay.
Charges for services via direct payments are made on exactly the same basis as those directly arranged by Adult Social Care services.
Family, carers and friends
People may use their friends, families or carers to help them manage the payments, provided that the person receiving the direct payment remains in control of the money.
You cannot use your direct payment to pay for services from a spouse, civil partner, close relative or other person who lives in your household.
Disability Advice Service Lambeth
Disability Advice Service Lambeth (DASL) has direct payment workers who can help you with any initial questions that you may have.