Direct payments are payments given to individuals by Social Services departments to enable them to buy services they have been assessed as needing. They can be given to disabled people aged 16 or over, to people with parental responsibility for disabled children, and to carers aged 16 or over in respect of carer services.
The aim of a direct payment is to give more flexibility in how services are provided to people who are assessed as eligible for social services support. Providing money in lieu of social care services gives people greater choice and control over their lives, and enables them to make their own decisions about how their care is delivered.
Most people who have been assessed as needing a social care service can get direct payments. This includes people with:
- physical or sensory impairment
- learning disabilities
- mental health problems
- a long-term illness or who need help because of the effects of growing older.
You can also receive direct payments if you are a:
- carer who has been assessed as needing support in your own right
- parent of a disabled child – for services that support you in bringing up your child.
You can ask for direct payments if you wish to be in control of the services you need, and you are able to arrange and manage those services, either by yourself or with help. You do not have to be able to do everything yourself. As long as you stay in charge of what happens you can have as much help as you need to manage direct payments.