Direct Payments / Personal Budgets and Choices and Rights.

Choices and Rights, in partnership with Hull City Council, have the responsibility of supporting disabled people, and families of disabled children, who are eligible for the Direct Payment Support Scheme. There are approximately 800 people who use Direct Payments, and currently over 1000 local people are employed as Personal Assistants. Choices and Rights provide assistance to disabled people and their families to access Direct Payments/Personal Budgets, and give them assistance recruiting Personal Assistants. We also provide on-going support to Social Work and Health staff, especially around employment law issues in relation to Direct Payments.

Direct Payments / Personal Budgets and Choices and Rights.

Choices and Rights, in partnership with Hull City Council, have the responsibility of supporting disabled people, and families of disabled children, who are eligible for the Direct Payment Support Scheme. There are approximately 800 people who use Direct Payments, and currently over 1000 local people are employed as Personal Assistants. Choices and Rights provide assistance to disabled people and their families to access Direct Payments/Personal Budgets, and give them assistance recruiting Personal Assistants. We also provide on-going support to Social Work and Health staff, especially around employment law issues in relation to Direct Payments.

FAQS

What are Direct Payments

If you, or the person you are looking after, have been assessed as needing Social Services support from your local council or trust, you have the option of asking for a ‘Direct Payment’ instead of receiving support arranged by the local council or trust. This information applies to people living in England,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

What is the difference between council/trust organised support and Direct Payments?

Instead of receiving support arranged by your council or trust, a Direct Payment support package enables you choose and purchase the services you feel you need as agreed with your funding body. For example, you may wish to employ someone directly to help manage the care of the person you’re looking after.

How do I ask for a Direct Payment?

Before requesting a Direct Payment, you first need to be assessed by your local council or trust.(find my local council) The assessment process differs depending on whether you are the person who receives the care, or a representative of the person who receives the care. If you, or the person you are looking after, are assessed as needing support, then the local council or trust will work out how much it
would cost to provide such support (generally called a personal budget). This is then broken down into any amount you, or the person you are looking after, might have to pay, if anything, and any amount the local council/trust has to contribute.

You can then ask the local council or trust for a Direct Payment, or you can ask them to arrange the support for you. A Direct Payment is the amount of money that the local council or trust has to pay to meet your needs, or the needs of the person you are looking after. This Direct Payment, this financial support, enables you to purchase the previously assessed and agreed upon necessary services to help you with your support needs and/or the support needs of the person you care for.

Subject to certain terms and conditions, it is sometimes possible for the person you are looking after to pay you or another family member, or friend, to meet their needs.

Although most people will be given a Direct Payment if they ask for one, there are some who do not qualify, for example those under various care orders, or treatments, for drug or alcohol dependence.

If the person being assessed does not have sufficient mental capacity, or does have mental capacity but would be unable to manage a Direct Payment, then someone can be appointed to manage the Direct Payment on their behalf.

NB: If you, or the person you are looking after, already receive support from the local council or trust but would like to receive a Direct Payment instead, you can ask them to make this change.

NB: Direct Payments are not compulsory and if you would rather the local council/trust arrange the support they should do so. It can also be possible to have a combination of support from the local council/trust and Direct Payments. 

How much will the Direct Payment be?

The Direct Payment must be for an amount that sufficiently meets your needs, or the needs of the person you care for, which you have been assessed by your local council/trust as having.

Occasionally, the local council/trust will ask for a contribution towards the cost of meeting your needs – further information on charging is available. If the person you are looking after uses the Direct Payment to pay for a care worker then there might be additional costs involved (i.e., recruitment costs,
auto-enrolment pension costs, National Insurance and Income Tax cost etc.,). If so, then the Direct Payment amount must be sufficient to cover these costs. Choices and Rights work alongside HULL CVS payroll services to provide a fully comprehensive package of direct payment support. 

 

What can I spend the Direct Payment on?

The Direct Payment must be used to meet the needs the local council or trust assessed you, or the person you are looking after, as having. The local council/trust has to agree that what you/they spend the Direct Payment on will meet these needs.

Example:
You are a carer, and one of the needs the local council or trust assessed you
as having was ‘help with the cost of driving lessons to help you continue in
your caring role’. You could ask for a Direct Payment to meet this need,
using the Direct Payment to purchase driving lessons.

Example:
The person you are looking after is assessed as needing ‘a care worker for an
hour a day’. They could ask for a Direct Payment to meet this need, using the
Direct Payment to employ someone of their choice to care for them for one
hour a day (if the local council/trust agree that this person would meet this
need). Sometimes, it is possible for the person you are looking after to pay
you, or another family member, or friend, to meet their care and support
needs.

 

Will getting a Direct Payment affect any benefits that I/we/they receive?

Direct Payments given to you as a carer or to someone receiving care to purchase services to meet your needs are not counted as ‘income’ for any benefits you receive, and will not therefore affect any of your benefits. If the person you are looking after, however, pays you or anyone else with their Direct
Payments then this would count as ‘earnings’ and might affect any benefits you, or anyone else being paid, receives.

 

What responsibilities will I have?

Everyone receiving a Direct Payment must keep records and submit accounts to the local
council/trust; thereby illustrating how the money was spent. The local council/trust should discuss with you what the monitoring process is. In addition, if the person you are looking after has been assessed as needing a Personal Assistant and receives a Direct Payment to purchase this service then,
depending on how they purchase this service, they (or someone managing the
Direct Payment on their behalf) might be taking on the responsibilities of an
employer.

 

If the person I am looking after gets a Direct Payment to purchase a care worker, does this mean they become an employer?

Using a care agency

 

If the person you are looking after uses a care agency to purchase this service, then the care agency would be the employers, and the person you are looking after would not be taking on the responsibilities of an employer. If you, or the person you are looking after, wants to find care agencies in their area the local council/trust will keep a list of local care agencies. You can also use one of the following:

• In England, the Care Quality Commission is the Health and Social Care regulator and has an online directory of registered independent care services.

• In Wales, the Care and Social Services Inspectorate (Wales) is responsible for inspecting Social Care and Social Services and has an online directory of registered care services.

• In Scotland, the Care Inspectorate regulates and inspects care services and has an online directory of registered care services.

• In Northern Ireland, the Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority is the independent Health and Social Care regulator and has an online directory of registered care services.

 

Employing a Personal Assistant directly

 

If the person you are looking after employs a Personal Assistant directly (even if this is a family member or friend), then they will be taking on the responsibilities of an employer.

This can seem daunting, but Choices and Rights are here to support you. Call (01482) 878778 or email office@choicesandrights.org.uk if you live in the Hull and East Riding area.

 

Some examples of employer responsibilities include but are not limited to:

• Check the references of the intended employee, and find out if they have an up-to-date Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate.

• Make sure the intended employee has the right to work in the UK.

• Set up a system for paying wages, deducting Income Tax and National Insurance, and keep records for HMRC (the Inland Revenue).

•Ensure that the employee has, (i) the annual leave to which they are entitled under ‘Working Time Regulations’, (ii) any maternity/paternity/sick pay to which they are entitled, and (iii) that you comply, as the employer, with any auto enrolment duties.

•Undertake a Health & Safety Risk Assessment of your home, or the location where the employee will primarily work, so that the potential risks to an employee are either removed or identified as safe thereby protecting the employee.

• Make sure that you have suitable insurance cover (i.e., Employer’s Liability Insurance and Public Liability Insurance).

This is not a definitive list and if the person you are looking after is considering becoming an employer they should seek advice on their full responsibilities.

 

Employing family members

 

If the person you are looking after gets a Direct Payment to purchase a care worker they might want to employ someone they already know to provide the care, such as a family member. However, there are rules around employing family members which vary depending on whether the person you are looking after lives in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

In England the rules are:

• The person who receives the Direct Payment, or the person for whom you care for, cannot normally use the Direct Payment to pay a family member they live with to provide them with care. If the local council/trust agree, however, that this is the most effective way of meeting their needs then it is sometimes possible. For example, it might be necessary if there are religious reasons, or communication reasons (other reasons may also count as necessary).

• You, or the person you look after, can use the Direct Payment to pay a family member who does not live with you/them to provide you/them with care (as long as the local council/trust agree that the family member will meet their needs).

• You, or the person you are looking after, can use the Direct Payment to pay a family member (regardless as to whether or not they live with them) to provide the management and administration of the Direct Payments, where the local council/trust think this necessary.

 

 

 

For more information about any of the above, please contact
Choices and Rights Disability Coalition

 



You can contact us at/on:

Tel: 01482 878778
Fax: 01482 370999
Textphone: 01482 370986
Email: office@choicesandrights.org.uk