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Living Better Lives (ASC)

Direct Payments

What is a direct payment?

We provide you with money for the care we've agreed together. You then shop for people to provide these services and pay them with the funding from us.

This way of managing your support gives you more say in what care you get, who supplies it and when.

All services must be safe, legal and meet your care and support needs. You will get the same sum of money whether you choose this way to arrange and pay for your care as you would if we were to handle it all for you.

Who are direct payments for?

Most people who qualify for social care can choose to set up a direct payment. This includes:

  • older people
  • disabled people over the age of 16
  • people with physical and/or sensory disabilities
  • people with learning disabilities
  • people with mental health issues
  • a person with parental responsibility for a disabled child aged under 16 including parents and people with legal parental responsibility and who are not necessarily the child's parents
  • carers who are over the age of 16 and have been assessed as needing services to support them in their caring roles and to maintain their own health and wellbeing

A person lacking mental capacity to consent to a direct payment can have a representative to manage it for them.

Is a direct payment for me?

A direct payment arrangement will give you more say in who provides your care and support and when they deliver it.

You can only buy services that are safe, legal and meet your needs.

What can I use a direct payment for?

  • for personal care to keep you safe, healthy and comfortable
  • to help you take up opportunities to help you get a job or improve your wellbeing
  • to help you connect with your local community
  • to buy care and support services from a business or to directly employ someone to help you, known as a personal assistant
  • to employ someone to give additional support if you have parental responsibility for a disabled child

Find out about  Personal assistants

What can't I use a direct payment for?

  • buying health services
  • buying long term residential care
  • paying household bills or other personal expenses
  • Buy services directly provided by the Council

A direct payment does not count as income or a benefit so this will not affect your benefits.

If you are over 18 we will talk with you about your finances to decide if a direct payment will cover all of your care costs or if you will have to pay for some of them yourself.

You must be willing and able to manage the direct payments yourself, with some support if it's needed.

A person lacking mental capacity to consent to a direct payment can have a representative to manage it for them.

Direct payments can't normally be used to employ close relatives who live in the same household.

Can I get help to manage my direct payments? 

Businesses will administer your direct payments for you but will take a small fee that you will have to pay yourself.

In some cases a management service can be provided to look after your funds and make payments on your behalf. For more information see Payroll providers.

How can I arrange my own support using Direct Payments?

As a rule you can use direct payments to get help from wherever you want, but there are some exceptions.

We can discuss these exceptions with you when you speak with one of our advisers on 0191 424 6000.

What do I do next?

If you are interested in a direct payment speak with your Social Worker

If you want more information call us on 0191 427 1717 or email

Once we've agreed the care you need, one of our advisers will visit you at home to talk through the scheme and guide you through setting it up if you decide a direct payment is for you. 

An adviser can provide you with:

  • initial information
  • employer information
  • help with paperwork
  • a contact for a payroll service if required
  • leaflets and fact sheets giving more information
  • access to support groups of young people/ families in a similar situation to your own, which you will be invited to

Payroll providers

There are several payroll providers that could look after your direct payments for you.

You must check how much they charge. As we don't run these companies we can't help you decide if they do their job well.

Below are some local companies that administer direct payments:

Direct Payments management companies

0191 492 1222 

0191 410 9178
Bede Services0191 286
B.H. Accountancy Ltd0191 281



0191 454 5322
Optimal Accountancy0191 455

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