If you think you might be eligible you can ask your local authority for a
community care assessment. If you are already receiving a service you can ask
your social worker if you can receive direct payments instead.
You can use the money to recruit and pay personal assistants, purchase services
from a care agency or from a respite service provider. The money cannot be used to
purchase services from the Council who awarded the direct payments.
The money must be used to buy the level of care that your local authority has
agreed to fund, following an assessment of need,. Regular audit checks are carried
out to ensure the payments are being managed properly and payments can be stopped if
they are being mismanaged or misused.
No. Direct payments are an alternative to services arranged directly by the local
authority and, as separate funds provided to purchase assessed support services, are
not considered as an income.
All adults receiving community care services are assessed to see if they have to
contribute towards the cost of their care. The amount payable depends on your income
and the type of services you receive and is currently capped at £80 per week in Wales.
If you do have to make a contribution it is deducted before the direct payment is made.
You can employ anyone aged 16 or over, including a family member or partner who
does not live at the same address as you (unless the Social Worker / Case Manager
can argue 'exceptional circumstances'), as a personal assistant providing they are
eligible to work and have a completed and verified Disclosure & Barring Service
(DBS, formerly Criminal Records Bureau) check.
People using Diverse Cymru’s Direct Payment Support Services currently pay
their personal assistants anywhere between £7.50 and £10.00 per hour. Your support
worker will create a budget sheet based on your circumstances and help make a
calculation of how much you can pay your personal assistant, taking into account
ongoing costs such as ensuring there is contingency funding to pay for an employee’s
annual leave and their cover.
Contingency plans should be put in place as part of the initial arrangements you
and your support worker undertake although the responsibility ultimately lies with
you. Relief staff should be recruited, or arrangements agreed with care agencies,
to allow for unforeseen circumstances. Whilst Social Services have a duty of care,
part of the agreement discussed when setting up direct payments is that the day-to-day
management becomes your responsibility.
If your services are purchased from a care agency then the direct payments would
normally cease until they were again required. Any personal assistants you have employed
will be entitled to a retainer rate which is usually only paid for a maximum of 4 weeks
at any one time but can differ depending on your personal circumstances.
Receiving direct payments is a choice; if you are finding managing them too difficult
you can ask for extra support or choose to stop receiving them. Your social worker can
discuss alternative services you can receive directly from your local authority instead.