Direct payments

A direct payment is a way of paying your personal budget.

Instead of arranging services for you, we pay your personal budget directly to you into a bank account. You use it to arrange and pay for the services and support agreed in your support plan.

This puts you in control - you can make choices about how your support is provided.

You would usually manage the money yourself, however we will always provide help and support so you can do this.

If you need to, you can choose to have someone else manage your direct payments for you. You may have to pay for this service out of your personal budget.

You can also have a combination of a direct payment and services that we arrange.

Who can get direct payments?

Most people who are entitled to a personal budget can get a direct payment. Your care manager will talk with you about direct payments and whether they would be suitable for you.

Why have direct payments?

Direct payments give you more flexibility and choice about your support.

Having a direct payment means that you can buy in your own care and support services and manage them yourself. You can decide how your needs will be met, by whom and at what time.

For example, you could employ a personal assistant (PA) who reports directly to you.

Or you might choose to use a different care agency from the one that we would choose for you.

If you have a contract with an agency, the agency will be accountable to you, not to us.

How is the money paid?

You will have to set up a separate bank or building society account for us to pay the money into. If you are expected to pay towards the cost of your care and support, you pay your contribution into this bank account too.

We pay the money in every four weeks.

You must only use this account for your direct payment transactions.

Keeping records

You will have to keep records of how you spend the money. We will give you help and support so that you can do this.

We will tell you what records we expect you to keep. This could be things like bank statements, invoices and receipts for items you buy, and wage slips if you are employing a PA.

From time to time we may check that you are using your direct payments account correctly.

Remember that you can only use your direct payments for items and services set out in your support plan. You can't use it for anything else, including your day-to-day living expenses or to pay debts. We can take action against you to get the money back if you have spent it on the wrong things.

What about tax and benefits?

Direct payments are not treated as part of your income for benefits purposes. And you don't pay tax on them.

If you employ a PA, you may have to pay their tax and national insurance.

If your circumstances change

Contact us as soon as possible so we can look at your situation again.

Contact us

For more information, email us at sandwell_enquiry@sandwell.gov.uk or call us on 0121 569 2266.