Personal Budgets (Direct Payments)

We can make a regular payment direct to you so you can arrange and pay for your own care and support.

You can also have a mixture of direct payments and services from us.

You won’t be taxed on direct payments and they won't affect your benefits.

How to get a direct payment

If you get social care support, you can choose direct payments. We’ll set up the direct payment after your assessment.

If you don’t get social care support, use our Care Direct online contact form or call us on 0117 922 2700.

Who can have direct payments

You can ask for direct payments if you’re:

  • over 16
  • a carer
  • the parent of a child, or children, with disabilities
  • a parent with disabilities

You'll be responsible for the money you get and arranging your own care. You can ask someone else to arrange your care and manage your money.

Direct payments for carers

If you're a carer, you can use direct payments to buy the services you need to support you in your caring role. This includes support that may help maintain your own health and wellbeing, such as helping you to take a break from your caring role.

See our carers page for more information.

Direct payments for older people

Direct payments can give older people helpful ways of getting care, such as:

  • arranging home care for a time that suits you
  • employing a carer you know and trust
  • short term help, such as after a hospital stay

Direct payments for people with learning difficulties

If you have a learning difficulty, direct payments give you more choices about your services.  For example, you could use your money to pay for a daily activity that you enjoy such as swimming lessons.

What happens next if you choose direct payments

We'll let you know how much money we can offer and work out a support plan with you and your family. We can help you with advice on:

  • budgeting the money and keeping records
  • using an agency or other services
  • employing a personal assistant

How you'll get the money

We’ll make regular payments into your bank. You need to set up a separate bank account for direct payments and keep bank statements for this account. You’ll need to keep a record of the money you spend, so we can see how you're using direct payments. 

What you can use the money for

You can only use the money to meet your assessed needs, such as:

  • employing a personal assistant

  • paying an agency to support you

  • employing a family member as long as they don’t live in your home

You can’t use direct payments to pay for residential care.

Employing a personal assistant

If you employ a personal assistant, you'll become an employer and will have responsibilities by law. For more information, see employing personal assistants on the Skills for Care website.

Watch the support video

View our YouTube video about self-directed support.

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You can also read the video transcript (text only) (pdf, 31 KB) (opens new window) (pdf, 32k) (opens new window) .