Direct Payments

Amy’s House now offers a brokerage service to enable parents to choose how you organise your child’s care without having all the extra paper work.

Services provided - we will:

  • Find you a qualified, CRB checked personal assistant (PA) to accompany your child to activities
  • Provide support around employment law and arrange your Employment Liability insurance
  • Ensure your PA has up-to-date safeguarding training and any other training relevant to your child’s needs
  • Provide time sheets to record sessions and hours worked by personal assistant/s
  • Pay PA monthly via BACS, pay HMRC the tax deducted and provide wage slips for your records (payroll)
  • Help with setting up an additional bank account
  • Be a familiar face - many PAs are already working with your child at Amy’s House. If this is not the case we will arrange home visits to introduce them and allow time for your child to build a relationship
  • Arrange bookings for the activities your child chooses to do i.e. swimming.
  • Be available as a point of contact should you have any questions or concerns
  • Provide access to advice and information via our website

This support and all services will be covered in your costings for direct payments through the council - so will be at no extra cost to you.

All you need to do is inform the social worker responsible for your payments about the type of care you require and that Amy’s House will provide a brokerage service or, if needed, can manage your budget. Your social worker will then liaise with the Direct Payments team. Please contact for further information.

There is NO CHARGE to the families for the managing budget or brokerage service. 

1. Who can get a direct payment?

Anyone who is assessed as needing care services has the right to request a direct payment instead of having those services provided by their council. There are limited circumstances when direct payments are not awarded, however the majority of those already receiving, or those assessed as needing, social services have a right to direct payments.

2. Are direct payments compulsory?

No. It is always the choice of the family whether to receive direct payments or continue getting services from social services.

3. I am already receiving services from the local authority – can I switch to direct payments?

Yes, you can ask the local authority to change to direct payments.

4.As a carer, what involvement do I have with the direct payments for the person I look after?

It depends on the capacity of the person are looking after ie if they have sufficient understanding and memory to comprehend the consequences of managing the direct payment. If the person lacks mental capacity then you or another person who may be acting on their behalf, may be asked to manage the direct payment for them. In some cases like this, the direct payment can be paid into a ‘user controlled trust’ (also known as an ‘Independent Living Trust’). The trust is used to manage money paid via direct payments but can include money from other sources. Trustees can include family members and/or professionals. Children under 16 cannot receive direct payments in their own right but they can be paid to their parents who will manage them on their behalf. When a parent chooses direct payments the local authority still has responsibility under the Children Act 1989 to assess and review the needs of the disabled child and family.

5.What can direct payments be spent on?

Direct payments are given to buy services (including equipment) that the disabled person has been assessed as needing. Social services teams set out what the money can and cannot be used for. Some people use direct payments to employ careworkers for personal care, others prefer to get help with domestic work like cleaning and laundry. Although direct payments are designed to support independent living, and cannot be used to pay for permanent residential accommodation, disabled people may be able to use the money to pay for short breaks ie respite care. Councils may also agree to allow users to combine support, so that some needs can be met by social services, and others can be met through direct payments.

6.How much money will we get to pay a care worker?

There is no set amount. The person you are looking after will need to be sure that they are receiving an amount that will fully cover their costs, including insurance and administration, and a criminal records bureau check.

7.Does receiving direct payments mean being an employer?

It depends. If the money is used to employ a care agency then that agency will have responsibility for all employment rules and procedures for the staff providing care. However, if direct payment users take on staff directly, then they will be classed as an employer.

8.What does being an employer entail?

If the disabled person (or someone acting on their behalf) employs staff directly, those receiving direct payments are bound by all the laws that cover employment and would be responsible for things like payroll, workplace insurance, health and safety and recruitment.

9.What happens if the care worker is ill or away on holiday?

You need to plan emergency back up services to ensure the person you are looking after will have the care they need if the care worker is away.

10.Are there restrictions on who you can employ?

Yes. The money cannot usually be used to employ a spouse, partner or a close relative who lives in the same household as the person receiving care, close relatives who live elsewhere are usually permitted. The council can waive these restrictions in some circumstances and direct payment users should discuss the employment of family or partners with their council.

11.What checks are there on how you spend the money?

If a family receives direct payments for their child, they will need to account for the money spent. The local council will tell them what records need to be kept. Information they may have to provide could include timesheets signed by the workers or receipts for services from agencies.

12.What is an 'individual budget'?

You may hear the term ‘individual budget’. This is a development of the idea of direct payments and pools different streams of funding for a person’s social care into one pot. So as well as the money for direct payments it could include money from NHS sources for health needs or money for education.

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