Although the Council can organise care services for you, it is
also possible for you to do this yourself. This is called a ‘Direct
What is a Direct Payment?
A Direct Payment is an amount of money which the Council may
give you to meet your care needs. You can spend this money on
services that will help you with your everyday life.
Some examples of how you can use this are:
- Employing a personal assistant or paying a care provider to
help you look after yourself. This could mean having help with
personal care or household tasks.
- Paying for short break/respite care so that you or your carer
can have a break from your normal routine
- Using it for other care needs. This might include funding
activities which improve your quality of life. Although your Care
Manager must agree that these meet your needs.
Who can get Direct Payments?
Almost anyone who is eligible for care services from the Council
can get a Direct Payment. However, your Care Manager will need to
agree the care support that your Direct Payment can pay for.
What are the main advantages and disadvantages of a Direct
Having a Direct Payment means you have more choice over the
services that you receive. It allows you to be creative and
flexible, so that you use this money on services that you feel are
right for you.
But it could also mean that you have to do more to receive your
care. For instance, you may need to deal with tax and National
Insurance if you have a Personal Assistant. You’ll also need to
make sure you are insured in case they have an accident. However,
there are organisations which can help you with this.
How do I get a Direct Payment?
To ask for a Direct Payment you just need to speak to your Care
Manager. You can do this at any time, even if you have received
care from the Council for many years. You might want to ask them
what the advantages and disadvantages might be for you.
Once you say you wish to go ahead with having a Direct Payment,
you will get a letter telling you whether it has been agreed that
this is appropriate for you. The letter will also tell you how much
the Direct Payment will be.
If you decide to use Direct Payments you will then need to sign
a ‘Direct Payment Agreement’. This outlines the Council’s
responsibilities to you when providing a Direct Payment and your
responsibilities to the Council for managing this.
You may also hear the phrase ‘Personal Budget’ being used. This
is the guide amount of money the Council sets for spending on a
customer’s care needs. The individual can manage this money
themselves as a Direct Payment or continue to allow the Council to
manage their care.
Frequently asked Questions
How Much Money Will I Get?
The amount of money you will receive will be enough to buy the
right services for your care needs. It is not possible to give a
guide amount to this because a Direct Payment will differ depending
on the circumstances of each person.
You will find out how much money you will need to pay when you
have a ‘financial assessment’. The Council will pay any remaining
Will the Benefits I Have Be Affected By a Direct Payment?
Having a Direct Payment will make no difference to the benefits
Can Someone Help Me Manage My Direct Payment?
If you don’t want the responsibility of managing a Direct
Payment, you can hand this over to someone else such as a personal
assistant or someone known as a ‘broker’.
If a person is unable to make decisions (for instance, because
they have dementia) they can ask to receive their Direct Payment on
their behalf so that you can organise their care.
If the Council feels that this is appropriate and would meet
their needs then they can appoint you as a ‘Suitable Person’. As a
Suitable Person you would receive the Direct Payment and agree to
meet their care needs. However, there must be an agreement with the
Council that you will manage things in their best interests.
It is often the case that people who do this also act as
‘Deputies’ or have power of attorney. This is where you have been
given legal power to act on the person’s behalf.
What Can I Spend a Direct Payment On?
You can spend a Direct Payment on many things providing they
meet your assessed care needs. This needs to be agreed with your
Care Manager. The Council must check how customers are spending
their Direct Payments every so often to ensure that this is the
What Can’t I Spend a Direct Payment On?
Direct Payments can be used for many things but there are some
things which are not possible.
- You can’t use a Direct Payment to pay for services from
Cheshire East Council. However, you can choose to receive services
from the Council and receive a smaller Direct Payment to spend on
- You can’t pay a close relative including a spouse or civil
partner to provide care for you if they live at the same address
(except in exceptional circumstances agreed by the Council).
- You can’t use it to pay for permanent care in a care home.
- You can’t use it to do anything illegal