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I have never heard of direct payments.....

is the response we get on our talks when we speak to individuals about care. Why this is the case is beyond Argo!

The payments are made by local authorities and the individuals then use funds to pay their carers or care services direct. Hence the name! Simple isn't it! Its hard to believe however that these have been in existence since the mid 1990s when you look at the percentage of the population who know of their existence. Particularly, when you think direct payments are the preferred method for Government to fund personalised care and support! As Argo believes it is important to know about all things that can affect you here is a simple run down of direct payments for your information.

A responsibility is placed on the local authority to advise individuals requiring care, when the local authority contribute, that a direct payment is an option for them. The local authority must provide timely and relevant information to enable an individual to make a decision as to whether they wish to request the payment. You should be told what the payments are, how to request a payment, be provided with an explanation of the direct payment agreement and how the local authority will monitor it, the responsibilities of managing a direct payment and where you can go to get support and assistance if you need it.

A request for a direct payment should be received and dealt with by the local authority swiftly. They cannot put it off until such time as it suits them. The assessment process for direct payments will differ whether or not the individual requiring care has capacity to make the application and continue to manage the payment.

If the application is successful the agreement is to be noted in the care plan. If unsuccessful the local authority must provide their reasons in writing and the individual must be advised how to appeal.

The amount of the direct payment will depend upon the identified care need of the individual. The amount paid can only be calculated after a needs assessment has been carried out to determine the level of care and support an individual requires. Once this need has been identified the financial calculation takes place to determine how much it will cost. This figure then becomes the direct payment.

The direct payment can then be administered by funds being deposited into a bank account from which care payments are made or they can be loaded onto a prepayment card which is then used to pay for care.

The local authority will review the activities within the direct payment account to ensure that they are being used in the correct manner. If there is any evidence of misuse the facility can be withdrawn.

Although this is a simple rundown of a direct payment as always, the small print, makes the application process more complex. This is a simple explanation of what a direct payment is. You may however feel that you need more support in the application process. If you do give us a call as the team is ready to help with those funny little complicated bits!

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