Most direct payments users are happy they took the step towards greater independence.
If you are still unsure, the following information might help you make your decision:
Will direct payments affect my other benefits?
No. Your direct payments are provided only to buy the care you need. They do not affect your other benefits and they are not classed as taxable income.
How much will I be paid?
The amount of direct payments you receive will depend upon the estimated cost of the services you need to meet your assessed needs and the outcome of your financial assessment.
This means that you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your support in the same way as if your local council was arranging or providing your services.
There is no minimum amount of direct payments payable for people under 65 and you can receive direct payments even if you get only one hour’s support a week.
This means that you may be asked to contribute towards the cost of your care in the same way as if your local council was arranging your services.
If you use your direct payments to employ a personal assistant(s) the council will pay you at a rate that ensures you can meet your assessed needs and also fulfil your legal obligations as an employer.
The flexibility of direct payments means it’s possible to adjust the amount of your direct payment you use from week to week, e.g. you can ‘bank’ any unused payment to use when extra needs arise.
Will I have to keep lots of records?
There is some paperwork associated with direct payments but don’t be put off by this. Your direct payments team will explain everything to you and will offer ongoing support.
Direct payments can only be spent as agreed in your care and support plan so you – or someone acting on your behalf – need to keep records of how the money has been spent.
You must spend all the money you are given on your identified support needs. If you don’t, the council might decide that your need for care and support is not lower than it believed and reduce the amount you receive.
What if I change my mind?
If you are eligible for direct payments, you can start whenever you want – and stop them too.
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).
The Diverse Cymru website has a comprehensive section on direct payments.
The Disability Tax Guide offers helpful information on taking on an employee in England and Wales (April 2022).
Carers UK provides information on direct payments for carers.