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Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

One or more sections on this page provide access to easy-read information - look out for this logo.

Support for you

If you feel that you need some help or support at home, you can contact your local Social Services for assistance.

They may suggest a period of reablement or rehabilitation at home, in the first instance to see if they can improve your independence so that you do not need support from the council.

If you are not suitable for reablement or rehabilitation then your local council will carry out an assessment of your support needs. This may involve a Social Worker visiting you at home and asking questions about how you are currently managing and what support you currently have. The worker will also ask you about what things you are finding difficult to manage.

They will write all the information they gather in a document which is often called an assessment document. They will give you a copy of this and you will have a chance to read it and make any changes to it if you think it is wrong or if you feel it did not capture your situation correctly.

After your assessment, they will be able to tell you if you are eligible for services and if so what your Personal Budget is.

They will then work with you to look at how to spend your Personal Budget and what goals or outcomes you would like to achieve. You may wish to become more mobile, or to be able to go out and socialise more. Whatever goals you decide on, the Social Worker will write them in a document known as a Care and Support Plan. You will be given a copy of this for your records. When your care is reviewed they will use your Care and Support Plan as a starting point to check your care is meeting your needs.

How Direct Payments work video

A Direct Payment is money paid directly to you by the Council for you to arrange and purchase your own care, based on your assessed care and support needs, rather than the Council buy it for you. This allows you to have more choice and control over how your care needs are met, so that services you receive are those you have chosen yourself to help you achieve the things that are important to you.

You have full control and choice over who provides your care. You take full responsibility for finding, organising and managing the care that you want, and paying for that care using your Direct Payment.

Direct Payments can only be used on what has been agreed in your Care and Support Plan following an assessment of your needs. This might include support from a care agency of your choice, or employing a personal assistant directly to help you, or to buy other support services and equipment.

Once set up, the Direct Payment will be paid to you once every 4 weeks.

Direct Payments can be managed by you, or by a third party such as a family member or friend.

The kinds of support which might be paid for using your direct payments include:

With your direct payment you will have greater flexibility to 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.

The council will provide you with a prepaid card for the direct payment to be paid into. Although the council will have access to moniter these accounts to ensure they are being managed appropriately, you should also keep record of any expenditure, such as receipts and timesheets. 

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:-

  • arranging the support
  • making the necessary payments
  • keeping track of what's left in your budget

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 you, as an employer, 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 informationfor people who receive care and support explaining what they need to do, and when, to arrange pensions for people whom they employ.

Employing a Personal Assistant with your Direct Payment - factsheets

Handy factsheets about your responsibilities as an employer if you hire a PA, and aletrnative ways of handling your Direct Payment.

Kensington and Chelsea

Kensington and Chelsea have produced a leaflet on direct payments.


Westminster have produced a leaflet on direct payments.

Personal Assistants and paid carers employed directly via Direct Payments will fall into the category of frontline social care worker and are entitled to the free flu jab.

They may be able to have the flu vaccine at a GP surgery or a pharmacy.

More information on the NHS website

Kensington and Chelsea

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.
Contact details: / 07922 811 281


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 CAB


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 Helper website offer independent advice on direct payments.

Age UK offer information and advice on personal care budgets.

The Independent Age website provides information on Your personal budget for social care 

MIND provide a guide to explain your rights to health and social care for your mental health. Includes information on eligibility for social care and how local authorities may meet your needs.

Mencap provide a information leaflet on Direct Payments 

Scope provide information on direct payments and personal budgets

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 factsheets on personal budgets and independent living.

In Control have a range of fact sheets on a range of different subjects, such as an introduction to self-directed support; how to make a support plan; organising your money; housing; jobs; opening a bank account; wills and trusts; person centred planning plus much more.

Last updated: 23/05/2024