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What are Direct Payments?

They are cash payments made to individuals by local councils in place of social service services. Direct Payments are designed to give people greater independence by enabling them to have control over the support they receive With Direct Payments, you can decide how to spend the money you receive to best meet your assessed needs.

Who can receive Direct Payments?
What can Direct Payments be used for?
What can’t Direct Payments be used for?
How much are they worth?
How are they paid?
Do I need to account for how I spend the money?

Who can receive Direct Payments?

Surrey County Council can make Direct Payments to most people who are assessed as needing social care and support. This includes:

  • older people needing community care services
  • disabled people
  • people with mental health problems
  • people with parental responsibility for a disabled child
  • carers who are caring for a disabled adult

To get Direct Payments you must:

  • Be aged 16 or over.
  • Be able to agree that you want to receive Direct Payments.
  • Be able to manage the payment, either alone or with assistance.
  • Make sure the Direct Payments are used to buy the agreed support you need. If you want we are available to help you with this but it is your choice how the money is spent.

What can Direct Payments be used for?

The money is for you to buy the support you need, so you can live the life you want. Different people need different things and Direct Payments can be used to pay for anything that meets your assessed needs. Including:

  • help with your personal care
  • equipment for the home
  • support at home or at work
  • support to do things during the day or evening
  • support to have a break from caring
  • equipment for the home

You don’t have to have all your support via a Direct Payment. You can ask Surrey County Council to provide some of it and have a Direct Payment for the rest.

What can’t Direct Payments be used for?

  • To buy permanent residential care or any services provided directly by a Local Authority.
  • To replace NHS Services, Housing Services (e.g. Disabled Facilities Grants), DSS benefits or Independent Living Fund payments.
  • To pay for household bills or used for anything unlawful.

People subject to certain mental health after care or criminal justice legislation may not be given Direct Payments.

How much are they worth?

There is no maximum or minimum level to a Direct Payment. The Direct Payment must be enough to pay for the support required.

How are they paid?

Direct Payments must be paid into a bank account used solely for that purpose. (Recipients of money from the Independent Living Fund may use the same bank account for both sets of payments). Direct Payments are currently made quarterly in advance although there are plans for this to move to monthly in the future.

Do I need to account for how I spend the money?

Yes. If you decide to use Direct Payments, you must keep proper records of all the payments you make, so keep all receipts safe. You should make all payments from your Direct Payments account by cheque, standing order, direct debit or electronic transfer (for example, Internet banking or telephone banking) – not cash. Every three months, you will need to give Surrey County Council a report of your spending.

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