What are direct payments?

Direct payments are a system which allows you to receive cash payments from your local authority instead of care services. Having a Direct Payment means that you can have more choice and control over the support you need, and can organise far more flexible arrangements than services provided by your council.

If your local authority has decided that you are entitled to community care services, you will probably be able to choose to receive payments instead of the services. These are called direct payments and you can use the money to arrange your own care services. If you are eligible for direct payments, you can choose to have:

  • direct payments
  • services that are provided/arranged by your local authority
  • or of the two approaches

It is your choice, but a local authority cannot force you to accept direct payments instead of council services.

Who is eligible?

The local authority must be satisfied that all the following apply:

  • the person who is entitled to a care package has needs which can be met using direct payments
  • the payments will be made to someone who is capable of managing them themselves or with support
  • the person entitled to the care package, or someone on their behalf has agreed they wish to receive direct payments.

You will have a right to receive them if one of the following applies:

  • you are aged 16 or over, and entitled to a community care service
  • you are a carer aged 16 and or over and an assessment has decided you are entitled to a carer's service

What can direct payments be used for?

You can use your Direct Payment to arrange support that is right for your individual needs, lifestyle and personal circumstances. This means you can be creative with your support if you choose. Some examples include:

  • Support with daily life and activities and personal care at home 
  • Employing carers
  • Respite care, to give Carer’s a break
  • Care home stays
  • Equipment
  • Adaptations to your home
  • Support to get out and about in the community
  • Support to access education or work

Find out more