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Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

older lady paying online

This guidance is for people who have already had a social care assessment and a financial assessment and are eligible for council funded care and support.

Personal budgets

A personal budget is an amount of council funding made available to meet your social care and support needs, following a care and support assessment.  

Your care and support plan is used to calculate a weekly amount of money to be used towards meeting the cost of your care.

Your personal budget may be used to:  

  • arrange a care agency to provide you with care and support at home with things like getting dressed, preparing a meal, washing and toileting  

  • arrange day activities

  • arrange and pay for respite care - to give you and your carers a short break  

  • pay for any support you may need when your carer takes a break.

You can choose how to spend your personal budget, provided that it meets your eligible social care needs and helps to meet the outcomes agreed and outlined in your care and support plan.  You can choose to take your personal budget as a Direct Payment.

 Direct payments

A Direct Payment is a personal budget taken as a cash payment, made directly to you. It can also be paid directly to an authorised person or to an organisation acting on your behalf.

Direct Payments can be used to buy your own care and support and can give you a greater ability to choose and control your own care services helping you to achieve better outcomes.

You can use a Direct Payment to employ your own Personal Assistant to help and support you.  You would need to pay them a wage from your Direct Payment. You may also use your Direct Payment to pay for certain types of equipment to help you live independently at home.

If you take your personal budget as a Direct Payment, you will be issued with a pre-paid card that allows you to purchase the care and support that you need.  

Receiving Direct Payments - prepaid card

Your Direct Payment can now be loaded onto a prepaid card.

A prepaid card is like a debit card, but you use it to receive and spend your Direct Payments. You will not normally be able to withdraw cash. If you need to make a contribution towards the cost of your care, you can also easily pay this on to a prepaid card. 

Prepaid cards have several benefits:

  • you will not need to set up a separate bank account to receive your Direct Payment.
  • you can get a prepaid card even if you don't have a bank account, or have a poor credit history
  • you can access your account online at any time
  • most prepaid card users do not need to provide monitoring information such as receipts or bank statement 
  • there is less risk of fraud, or you having to repay money because you have lost a receipt

You can get help and advice with your Direct Payments from Peterborough Council for Voluntary Services (PCVS).