Direct Payments

Direct Payments are a one off or ongoing payment of money from the council to you, or to someone acting on your behalf, to pay for the cost of arranging all or part of your agreed social care. This means that you have more choice and control about the care and support you receive.

To be considered for a Direct Payment you need to have been assessed as being eligible for Social Care and to recieve Adult Social Care Funded Support. Direct Payments can be made to:

  • People with long term illness
  • People with mental health needs
  • People with a physical , sensory or learning disability
  • Carers of Adults
  • Adults with parental responsibility for a child with a disability

You can have help to manage your Direct Payment, to organise your suppport and, if necessary, to make payments on your behalf. This can be informally from family or friends by having a more formal 'Nominated Person' arrangement. If someone doesn't have the mental capacity to request or manage a Direct Payment, it is possible for an “Authorised Person" to request this and take on responsibility for the Direct Payment. This will usually be a carer, family member or friend. 

How you use your Direct Payment will be discussed on an individual basis and based on your situation and preferences, it cannot normally be used to pay a close family member living in the same household or to buy Council services, also Direct Payments can not legally be used for housing or health services or for anything that hasn’t been agreed in your care and support plan. The ways in which Direct Payments can be spent can include:

  • employing your own staff (often called Personal Assistants),
  • buying support from an organisation or agency.
  • buying equipment 

If you employ staff legally you become their employer.  You will be responsible for paying wages, national insurance, income tax, sick pay, employers liability insurance,  maternity pay and holiday pay and arrangements when they are unable to support you e.g. when they are ill. You are also responsible for employment contracts, supervision and training for your Personal Assistant. The council has an arrangement with a local support organisation to provide you with help to set up and manage this including advertising for staff, insurances and payroll. 

If you buy help with your personal care from an agency it is best that you buy services from one that is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) or which has a contract with Milton Keynes Council.

Everyone who recieves a Direct Payment is  required to sign an agreement with the Council which sets out your responsibilities and how the Council will support you. You are responsible for keeping records and receipts to show how you have spent the money that you have been given and we can, at any time, ask you to send this information to us.  When you have your review a worker from the Council will go through how you have spent your Direct Payment and if it is working for you.  

It is your choice to ask for a Direct Payment, however the Council may not always agree to this. You will recieve a written reason why this has been refused and you can appeal this decision. 

If you don’t want to receive Direct Payments any more you can stop them when you choose. The Council may stop your Direct Payment if there are problems with how it is being used or managed but they will always try to help you with any problems and will explain why this has happened.