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What is a Direct Payment?

A Direct Payment is money that Richmond Council can give you instead of arranging care services for you. They are an important way of helping you to continue to live independently in your own home because you can use this cash payment to buy the support that you want and need. You can have a Direct Payment for all your support, or for part of it. If you only want a Direct Payment for part of your support, Richmond Adult and Community Services or your Broker can help you to arrange services for the rest of it. Direct Payments are not a benefit and choosing to have a Direct Payment does not affect your benefits. It is your choice as to whether you want a Direct Payment or not, however having Direct Payment give you more choice and control over the way your needs are met.

Who can get a Direct Payment?

Most individuals who are receiving social services from the Council can choose to have a Direct Payment.

This includes:

  • Older people who have been assessed as needing community care services
  • Disabled people aged 16 and over, including those with short or long term needs
  • Individuals who use mental health services
  • Individuals with learning difficulties
  • Carers
  • Parents of disabled children

You do not need to have capacity to manage a Direct Payment. If you are supporting a relative, parent or friend and they would like to have choice over who is providing their care, they can still have a Direct Payment. The payment is made to the individual who is managing the support on behalf of the individual.

Why is a Direct Payment a good way of getting support?

Direct Payments allow you to take more of the decisions that affect your life. They give you more flexibility and choice, by enabling you to purchase care for yourself that is better suited to your individual needs. If you receive a Direct Payment, you can decide how your needs will be met, by whom and at what time. You are in control. You may make arrangements directly; so that any staff you employ report directly to you, or if you have a contract with an agency or service, they will be accountable to you, not the local council.

What can you get with your Direct Payment?

You can use your Direct Payment to get the support that you need. The support that you purchase must be legal and must meet the outcomes that you have listed in your Support Plan.

Many of us use our Direct Payment to employ our own support worker, sometimes called a Personal Assistant or PA for short, instead of having to rely on 'care' agencies. We pay our PAs a wage to give us help with practical daily living tasks, such as:
• washing and dressing
• shopping and cleaning
• getting up and going to bed
• cooking and eating meals

We also arrange for our PA to assist us:
• at work
• at college or classes
• to go out to meet friends and family
• to travel to the doctors or dentist
• to do things that anyone might want to do for fun or relaxation

Other people use their Direct Payments to:
• buy equipment and services,
• to pay for short breaks away from home and at a place you choose
• pay for an activity or class instead of going to a day centre
• Have support to live in your own home, instead of living in a car

Direct Payments give you more choice. 

Ruils : Getting the Right Support : Direct Payments

Direct Payments give you:

Support that meets all your needs

With a Direct Payment you can move beyond your essential needs and work towards leading the life of your choosing.


Using Direct Payments to manage your own support takes the "carer" element out of your relationships with family and friends. This can make a difference to the way they and you relate to each other and can help make important relationships more relaxed with less feelings of dependency.


Direct Payments allows you to choose the person (or equipment or service) that suits you and to choose where and when the support is provided


Because your support worker or Personal Assistant (PA) works directly for you, you decide who does what, when and how things are done.

Reliable support

The direct, personal relationship built up between you and your staff or PA, means that their loyalty to you and their awareness of your needs, can lead to more reliable, personal and consistent support.


As long as you are getting your assessed needs met, you can decide, on a day-to-day and on an hour-by-hour basis, what and how you want things done. You can also be more creative and spontaneous than traditional forms of 'care' allow.

Dignity and respect

Having the same people working for you, means that you get to know and trust one another. The partnership is based on mutual respect and consideration.

Well being

The greater control, consistency, range of support and activities you can get with Direct Payments, can help the way you feel and lessen the anxiety and vulnerability that is sometimes common amongst people who need to rely on others for assistance.

How do I get a Direct Payment? 

Your social worker should discuss this option with you when they assess your care needs but if they do not, or if you already get services, ask the duty care manager or the social worker you usually speak to.

If the council have not previously assessed you needs, you can ask for an assessment in the same way as you would for any social care service. If you are new to social services you will need to get in contact with them to arrange an assessment.

If the council concluded that you did not need social care services, then it will not offer you a Direct Payment. However, if you think your needs or circumstances have now changed, ask your local council for a new assessment.

If you are already getting support from the council contact you socials services team to ask them if you can move to Direct Payments.

To get a Direct Payment you will need:

1. To have undergone an assessment and chosen to have a Direct Payment.
2. To open a separate bank account for this money as Direct Payments are public money (it comes from the council). The account will also need to be a current account.
3. Agree to keep a record of what you have spent you money on.