Event date: 26/04/2017
News date: 21 Apr
Whatever you want to do, concerns you have or support you need, there are a wealth of organisations and charities that can help. Have a look at what's available here.
Items such as raised toilet seats, bath boards and seats, walking frames, and grab rails can make a real difference to your safety and independence.
You may have heard that the money available from your local council to pay towards the cost of any support you need is now known as a personal budget.
If you are eligible for support from the council then a personal budget allows you to spend the money allocated for that support in a way that best suits you, and to stay as independent as possible.
When you first come into contact with the council you will probably be asked to undertake a spell of reablement or rehabilitation in your own home, where trained professionals will work with you to see whether you are able to increase your levels of independence.
If you still need support with day-to-day tasks after this period a worker from the council will complete an assessment of your support needs with you; this will help clarify whether you are eligible for support from the council. If you are eligible for support then the worker will help you to work out what specific support you need, and will calculate your personal budget to cover the cost of this support.
The worker will also tell you whether you have to pay a contribution towards any support which you receive.
You will then be able to choose how the total sum of money is spent and take as much control over your care as you feel comfortable with.
You can ask the council to spend your personal budget and organise your support for you.
Or you can ask them to give your personal budget money to you in the form of a direct payment.
Whichever method you choose you will have a care and support plan, showing how the personal budget will be used to meet your needs. You can draw up the plan yourself, with family and friends, or with help from social services or another organisation.
If you choose to have a direct payment you'll need to sign both the plan and a Direct Payment Agreement - a contract with the council - outlining your responsibilities.
The kinds of support which might be paid for using your personal budget include:
If you choose to receive your personal budget as a direct payment then you will have greater flexibility about whom you pay to provide your support - you can choose to employ care workers or other care professionals via a care agency, or can employ your own personal assistant, but you can also choose to pay someone you know to provide support for you.
If you decide that you want your personal budget to be paid to you in in the form of a direct payment then you can usually choose whether you want the direct payment money paid into a bank account (which must be separate from your main bank account), or transferred to a special debit card.
You can then use the money to make payments for the support you have identified in your care and support plan. You will be responsible for:-
The council will arrange assistance for you in managing your direct payment, and in making sure that you know what to do.
If you prefer you can ask someone else to manage your direct payment, and to pay for your support on your behalf. You can nominate a relative or a friend to do this.
If you are a person with dementia, a mental health problem or a learning disability you may not have the mental capacity to manage a direct payment by yourself. But you may still be entitled to receive your personal budget in the form of a direct payment, provided that there is a suitable person (perhaps a relative of friend) who can be nominated to manage the direct payment and organise the care on your behalf.
If you employ someone to provide care and support for you, either privately or using a personal budget, then a change in the law means that, as an employer, you may need to make pension arrangements for them.
If your care is provided by an agency, and it pays your personal assistant's national insurance contributions, the agency is the employer and you don't need to do anything.
If you employ your personal assistant directly, you will only need to automatically enrol them in a pension scheme if they meet certain criteria, which are based on their age and how much you pay them.
The Pensions Regulator has produced a leaflet for people who receive care and support explaining what they need to do, and when, to arrange pensions for people whom they employ.
Handy factsheets about your responsibilities as an employer if you hire a PA, and aletrnative ways of handling your Direct Payment.
The first step is to request a community care assessment from your local council.
Hammersmith and Fulham have produced a leaflet on personal budgets and direct payments.
Kensington and Chelsea have produced a leaflet on personal budgets and direct payments.
Westminster have produced a leaflet on personal budgets and direct payments.
The Action Disability Kensington and Chelsea (ADKC) Personal Budget Project supports individuals in Kensington and Chelsea with physical disabilities, sensory impairments and hidden disabilities to maximize their choice and control over how support is provided whilst using personal budgets and direct payments.
If you would like to receive independent advice on accessing care and support, benefits, legal issues, housing, your rights as a carer, and a range of other issues, then you can contact the Westminster Advice Services Partnership (WASP).
The HomeCareDirect website aims to help people to take control over their care at home, whether through a personal budget, personal health budget, direct payment or for people who pay for their care themselves.
HomeTouch is an online service that helps people select and contract with a qualified, vetted carer or personal assistant of their choice. HomeTouch checks the qualifications and references of carers / personal assistants before signing them up. The service is particularly useful for people who are organising their care using a personal budget, personal health budget, or direct payment, or for people who pay for their care themselves.
The Money Advice Service offer independent advice on direct payments.
Age UK offer information and advice on personal budgets.
The Independent Age website provides a leaflet called Home Care: using a direct payment or a personal budget (guide no 23).
MIND provide a guide to personal budgets, with information about what you can do to get support.
Scope provide information on direct payments and personal budgets.
The Mental Health Foundation have produced several videos on the benefits of self-directed support, including for people with dementia.
SENSE provide advice and suggestions on how personal budgets can benefit people with duel sensory impairments (being blind and deaf).
Disability Rights UK provide a factsheet on personal budgets.
In Control have produced a work book called In The Driving Seat which will help you to ensure that your support plan covers all of the important issues and gives you as much control over your life as possible.