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Direct payments FAQs

What is the difference between a direct payment and a personal budget?

A personal budget is cost of the care and support that we arrange or provide to meet your needs. It is calculated by identifying your eligible needs, how you would like that support to be delivered, and the hourly cost. 

One way you can manage your personal budget is by receiving a direct payment.

A direct payment is a cash amount based on your agreed personal budget. Direct payments enable you to arrange and pay for the individually tailored care and support agreed in your care plan.  This would enable you to live as independently as possible.

How will a direct payment help me?

A direct payment helps you to stay in control and give you more choice about your care and support.  Also, they can help you to live as independently as possible,  receiving support that fits in with your lifestyle.

Following your agreed care plan, you can use a direct payment for personal care, social and leisure activities, educational, training or employment activities, and short breaks.  You can choose to employ a Personal Assistant or buy services or products as agreed in your care plan.

You don’t have to receive your entire personal budget in a direct payment.  You can ask us to provide some of your care and receive the balance in a direct payment.

Will I have to contribute anything towards my care?

If you have eligible care needs, we will assess your financial circumstances to see if you have to pay towards your care and support. The amount you contribute would be the same, regardless of whether or not we are arranging the care for you.

Will having a direct payment affect my benefits?

A direct payment is a substitute for the care services that we would otherwise arrange.  It is not the same as welfare benefits and it will not affect your other benefits or pension.

I am a carer. Can I receive a direct payment?

If you are a carer, you are entitled to a carer’s assessment. In Camden, this assessment can be done by Adult Social Care or Camden Carers Service.  If you are eligible for support you can receive your personal budget as a direct payment.  The direct payment must be used to meet the outcomes that you identified with your social care worker during the support planning process. There is no financial assessment required for a carer’s personal budget and all eligible carers can receive one.

Can I employ a family member to support me?

Yes. You can employ a family member or a friend to support you as long as they do not live with you.  There are exceptions to this rule which must be authorised by Camden before formalising this arrangement.  To find out more about employing family members, please contact the Direct Payments team on 020 7974 1899 or email ASCdirectpayments@camden.gov.uk.

A care worker I use is currently employed by a care agency.  Can I employ them directly so that I can have more flexibility about when I receive care?

Your care worker will need to discuss this with their agency to ensure there are no restrictions in their contract.  If you need to employ a care worker (Personal Assistant), Personalisation Support in Camden can support you with this.

Do I need to keep any financial records?

You will need to keep records of how you have used your direct payment. This includes keeping all bank statements, receipts and invoices and providing them to the Direct Payments team upon request.  If you are using a pre-paid card to receive your direct payment, you should use the card to make all your payments, rather than paying by cash.  If you use a managed payroll company, and they make all payments on your behalf, you will need to provide the payroll company with receipts and timesheets.  

If you have any questions about keeping financial records or spending your direct payment, Adult Social Care and Personalisation Support in Camden (PSIC) can give you advice and information.

What happens if I don’t spend some of my direct payment?

You are responsible for managing the way your direct payment is spent, arranging when you receive the care, and paying for this.  Occasionally, your account may show that money has built up over the weeks.  We allow for a contingency of 6 weeks’ worth of your direct payment to build up.  If there are more than 6 weeks built up, then the excess amount would need to be repaid to the Council unless the excess is being built up for a specific reason.

A build-up of the money may show that your care needs are not being met or that your care plan needs to be reviewed. If you have not used your direct payment for a specific period and have paid your client contributions during this time, these would be refunded to you for that same period.

If your direct payment is was not used to meet your care and support needs or was misspent, we may take legal action to recover the money and cancel or suspend your direct payment.

Can I get ongoing support with using my direct payment?

Personalisation Support in Camden (PSIC) will help you through each stage of the process including:

  • advice and guidance about direct payment
  • support to recruit your own Personal Assistant
  • support to help you to manage the direct payment yourself or through your suitable person

Once your direct payment is up and running, PSIC will continue to provide support if and when you need it.

What happens if I start receiving my direct payment and find it does not work for me?

You simply tell us that you no longer wish to receive direct payment. We will then have a conversation with you about arranging care services for you.

How can I start receiving a direct payment?

If you are currently receiving care from us and would like to receive a direct payment, please speak to your social care worker or get in touch with the Access and Response team on 020 7974 4000 (option 1) or email adultsocialcare@camden.gov.uk.

If you do not receive any care from us at the moment but think you may need it, then please get in touch with the Access and Response team on 020 7974 4000 (option 1) or email adultsocialcare@camden.gov.uk and ask to receive a care assessment.

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