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Last updated:
18/10/2018

What are 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

After social services have assessed you and they decided you have eligible needs, you can ask for direct payments. Direct payments are the money payments you get to pay for your care and support – this section gives information about direct payments and how they work.

Direct payments are the money payments you get to pay for your care and support.

Direct Payments in Northern Ireland are regulated by the Carers and Direct Payments Act (NI) 2002 and are subject to departmental Direct Payments Scheme Guidance 2004.

  • When your local Trust gives you money to buy the services you want, this is called direct payments.
  • You may get direct payments if your Trust thinks you have needs because of your mental illness.
  • Carers can get direct payments to meet their needs.
  • You can spend direct payments on any service, as long as it meets your assessed needs.
  • You may have to pay for some of your care and support depending on your financial circumstances. 

Your local Trust should tell you how they do direct payments and should explain how you can get them and what they expect you to do.

Do I have to have direct payments?

You do not have to get direct payments and you may want social services to meet your needs instead, but your local Trust must offer you direct payments if you meet the criteria.   

What if I am getting free residential care under the Guardianship Order?

You cannot get direct payments to pay for residential care under the Guardianship Order. The Order implies that the Guardian names your place of residence and the accommodation is free, but you can’t get money to pay for a different kind of accommodation, because you cannot choose your accommodation.

Will direct payments affect my benefits?

No, direct payments will not count as income and will not affect your benefits. Direct Payments can count as income if the Trust agrees to pay them to your spouse, but this situation is very rare and has to be in your best interests. It will not be treated as income if a third party is employed to provide services.

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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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