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Last updated:
16/11/2017

How do I pay for social care?

What are important things to know about managing Direct Payments?

  1. Overview
  2. What is social care?
  3. When can the Trust charge me for non-residential services?
  4. I am a carer; will the Trust charge me?
  5. What if I cannot afford the charges?
  6. How can I deal with problems about charges?
  7. What are direct payments?
  8. Can I get direct payments?
  9. How will the local Trust pay me?
  10. What can I spend direct payments on?
  11. What are important things to know about managing Direct Payments?
  12. When will my direct payments end?
  13. Next steps

You should keep receipts and records of what you have spent your direct payments on.

If you pay for someone – like a personal assistant – you become his or her employer. This means that you have certain legal responsibilities, such as:

  • Paying National Insurance,
  • Allowing holidays,
  • Taking out insurance, and
  • Paying sick pay.

When social services or your care coordinator work out how much your direct payments are, they should include these costs and they should give you all the information you need about being an employer.

How can I deal with problems with direct payments?

You can get help from an advocate – an advocate can help you deal with your problems with the Trust.

If you want to complain, you need to use your Trust’s complaints procedure, and if you feel that your Trust is not following the law, you can get legal advice – to get this, you would need to speak to a community care solicitor.

What if my direct payments are not enough?

Your direct payments may be too low either because your Trust did not take all of your needs into account when working out the amount, or the way of working out how much you should get is not fair.

To make sure you have enough money to buy services and you can manage direct payments, the Trust should review your situation in the first six months and the first review should be 6 to 8 weeks after you signed off your care and support plan.   

If you feel you are not getting enough money through direct payments, tell your social worker or care coordinator, as they might be able to help. If that doesn’t work, you can try some of the options we suggested above.

I’m a carer – can I get direct payments?

If you care for someone with a mental illness, you might have your own needs. If you are over 18 and have eligible social care needs, you can get direct payments to meet these needs.

In Northern Ireland, the Trusts have power to meet the carer’s needs, which means they have discretion whether or not to do so. If the Trust decides they will meet your needs as a carer, you may be eligible for Direct Payments.

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Within this subject

  1. Overview
  2. What is social care?
  3. When can the Trust charge me for non-residential services?
  4. I am a carer; will the Trust charge me?
  5. What if I cannot afford the charges?
  6. How can I deal with problems about charges?
  7. What are direct payments?
  8. Can I get direct payments?
  9. How will the local Trust pay me?
  10. What can I spend direct payments on?
  11. What are important things to know about managing Direct Payments?
  12. When will my direct payments end?
  13. Next steps
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