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 separate bank account. You use the direct payment 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.

If you are new to direct payments, you may find our factsheets useful.

You manage your direct payments yourself however it may be appropriate for a suitable person to be nominated to manage this money on your behalf. This should be agreed prior to the first payment and decided upon during the support plan process.

You can also have a combination of a direct payment and services that we arrange. Our short film tells you more about some of the options available when arranging direct payments.  

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 become an employer and employ a personal assistant (PA) to provide your care.

You might choose to use a care agency to provide your support. In doing this, you would have a contract with the agency which you will be accountable for, not the Council.

How is the money paid?

You will have to set up a separate bank account for us to pay the money in to. We pay the money in every four weeks.

As part of the direct payment process, a financial assessment will be carried out which may result in the need for you to pay a financial contribution towards the cost of your care. This contribution will need to be paid into your direct payments account on a regular basis.

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

Keeping records

You will be required to keep all paperwork relating to your direct payments account and expenditure.

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.

We will regularly check that you are using your direct payments account correctly by reviewing the paperwork that you have kept.

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 anything that has not been approved.

What about tax and benefits?

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

If you employ a PA, you will be accountable for their tax and national insurance.

If your circumstances change

Contact us immediately 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.

If you need independent support with the use of direct payments, please contact Ideal for All or phone 0121 558 5555.