What Are Direct Payments?
A Direct Payment is a payment that can be made to people who are eligible to receive community care services from the Local Authority and who are willing and able to arrange their own services.
Who are Direct Payments for?
They are payments that could be made to, for example:
- Older people;
- Adults with a physical and/or sensory impairment;
- Adults with mental health problems;
- Adults with learning disabilities;
- Disabled young people aged 16 or 17;
- A disabled person with parental responsibilities for a child; or
- Parents of disabled children
In addition, in some circumstances, unpaid carers may also be able to receive Direct Payments for respite and /or to support their caring role.
Carers are people who look after relatives or friends who cannot manage at home without help and who do not receive payment for their work.
How do Direct Payments work?
Direct Payments are used to buy services, in full or in part, to meet assessed needs, as described in an individual’s Care Plan, (e.g. home care, respite or day services).
The Direct Payment Scheme has many advantages but requires the person
receiving Direct Payments to take responsibility for managing their own care arrangements on a day-to-day basis. This could mean that the person receiving Direct Payments becomes an employer.
As part of the process of setting up and receiving Direct Payments, a Support Service is available. The Support Service provides assistance with matters such as:
- Setting up a payroll service;
- Arranging Employer’s Liability Insurance;
- Recruiting staff; or
- Meeting with all other duties and obligations as a responsible employer
What are the advantages of Direct Payments?
Direct Payments offer more choice and control over the provision of care. For example, the Service User, as employer, decides whether s/he wants assistance with getting up to be provided at 7am or at 11 am.
The Service User employs the Personal Assistant (opens jobs page) directly so knows exactly who will be providing the care. Service Users can choose their own activities and when and where they participate in those activities – for example a Personal Assistant may enable the Service User to go swimming, or perhaps to an outdoor event, that they would not otherwise be able to attend.
Direct Payments are a way of offering choice and control to the Service User so that they receive the care they need from the person(s) of their choice at a time and in the way of their own choosing.
A Direct Payment Service User commented that ‘Direct Payments have changed my life’, and that he felt ‘much more confident’ since he started using the scheme because he can now ‘go and do things’ for himself.
Direct Payments and Benefits
Direct Payments do not affect the Service User’s entitlement to benefits or tax liability. Direct Payments are not income but a cash substitute with which to purchase services. They are a different way of ensuring the Service User receives the care s/he needs.
However, people who are employed by the Service User, under the Direct Payment Scheme are liable to pay tax and National Insurance, just as they would if they were working for any other employer. Earnings may affect benefits.
For further information, please read our Direct Payments Public Information Leaflet.
Finding out more about Direct Payments
The first step is an assessment of care needs by a Social Worker or Care Manager – contact Newport City Council below for more information.
Newport City CouncilThe Corn Exchange
01633 626657 (Textphone Number)
Alternatively, you can contact the Independent Living Advisors who will provide general advice and expertise.
Newport City CouncilDirect Payment Service
74 Blaen-y-Pant Crescent
Telephone: 01633 656656
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