Direct payments can seem a bit daunting at first; however, you will receive lots of help to set everything up, employ a personal assistant if you decide to do so, and maintain the necessary records.
What can direct payments be used for?
You can spend your direct payments on what you decide will best meet your personal outcomes as set out in your care and support plan.
Personal care services
You can use your money to pay for carers to come to your home and help you with day-to-day activities like washing, dressing and making meals. You can decide how, when and where you want someone to support you.
Your direct payments support team will provide you with a list of home care agencies who are registered with the Care Inspectorate Wales (CIW) or you can search on their website. Show the agency your care and support plan and discuss how they intend to meet your needs before you go ahead.
If you prefer, you can use your direct payments to employ one or more personal assistants. This option gives you most control over the support you get; however, it also means you will become the person’s employer with all the responsibilities that involves.
You can spend your money on social activities, evening classes and even holidays if they are in your care plan. Direct payments can also help if you want to do paid work or a training course.
Equipment and minor home adaptations
If you need special equipment or minor home adaptations an amount to cover these things might be included in your direct payments.
Special equipment might include computers, mobility aids, safety devices, transfer aids and assistive technology.
Time off caring
If you are a carer, you might get direct payments to pay for respite care or to employ someone to help you in your caring role, perhaps so you can return to work, education or simply enjoy some time to yourself.
Direct payments can support your return to independence, e.g. for intermediate care or following hospital discharge.
Direct payments can also be used for a temporary stay in residential care (check first with your direct payments team).
Long-term residential care
You can now use direct payments for long-term residential care if you have an identified need for care and support.
Is there anything direct payments can’t be used for?
It’s important to remember that direct payments must be used to meet the outcomes set out in your care and support plan.
Direct payments cannot be used to purchase equipment that the NHS must provide or home adaptations that can be paid for with a Disabled Facilities Grant.
Social Care Wales has an online guide to direct payments on its website.
Age Cymru has also produced a comprehensive factsheet about direct payments (February 2021).