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Direct payments

We offer direct payments and personal health budgets to residents to enable you to buy care and support services to meet your eligible needs.

If you or someone you care for receives help from adult services, you can ask for a direct payment to enable you to buy the care and support services to meet your eligible care needs rather than getting services directly from us.

You can only get direct payments if you've have received an assessment from us and need care and support services to meet your eligible needs.

What is a direct payment?

It is a personal budget that can be used to purchase care and support to meet your assessed needs. It puts you in control and gives you more choice about how your care and support is arranged and delivered.

It can be used to:

  • buy your own care and support services
  • employ personal assistant(s)
  • buy certain equipment to help you live independently at home

The Pre-paid card

Pre-paid cards are an effective way to deliver direct payments. They provide a way to monitor and validate your payments and have a number of benefits for the customers:

  • The account can be set up and the card delivered directly to you
  • You will be able to use your card to buy services and support as agreed in your care and support plan
  • You can get online support to check your current balance and payments made
  • There is a dedicated telephone support line (both office hours and 24/7 automated service) if you cannot access online support
  • You won't need to send your financial returns as Sunderland City Council can monitor how the card is being used via an online system
  • You can load your contribution and monitor how much you pay towards your services
  • Additional cards can be provided if you need assistance from a third party to manage your direct payment

Will I get any help if I need to employ a personal assistant (PA)?

Yes, the Direct Payment Support Service will help you with the following:

  • Making sure you have capability to deal with the responsibilities that come with employing a personal assistant
  • Help you with recruiting and interviewing a PA if you need it
  • Set up the relevant payroll information required to employ a PA
  • Support you with any employment issues or concerns you may have

Why use a direct payment?

A direct payment arrangement puts you in charge of your care or support arrangements, giving independence and flexibility over who provides your care and how and when it is delivered. For example, you could choose to employ personal assistants who:

  • are always the same people and are available when you need them
  • speak the same language as you
  • have experience working with your care needs
  • are a specific person that has been recommended to you
  • can help you get to shops or social events

You can choose how you use the money in your direct payment as long as you are spending the funds on things that meet your personal care needs within your care plan.

Help to manage your direct payments

Every adult receiving services, including a direct payment for care services will have a financial assessment to determine whether they have to make a financial contribution towards the costs of their care.

If your financial assessment calculates that you need to make a contribution to your care this amount will be deducted from the direct payment, we make to you.  You will need to make sure you pay your contribution in to your direct payment account so you have enough money available to pay for your services.

If you think you may be eligible for direct payment you will need to receive an assessment of your care and support needs to see if you meet the eligible criteria for this support.

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