Welcome to our new page all about direct payments! We have made some decisions recently which changes the way we make direct payments. If you want to read about the consultation that we ran to help us with our decisions, you can read a report on it.
We have made this page to help keep you up to date with how we are making the changes. We will keep adding information to this page as our plans progress.
What is a direct payment?
After you have had a care assessment, we work out how much it costs to meet your eligible needs, for example what it costs for you to have care at home. The cost of meeting your needs is called a ‘personal budget’ or ‘personal health budget’ because it is an amount that is personal to you and your needs.
Depending on how much money you have (savings), how much money you get (income) and how much money you spend (outgoings) you might be asked to share the cost of meeting your social care needs with us. Health care is free.
When we think it is an appropriate way to meet your needs, we pay you your personal budget, or personal health budget, as a direct payment. Along with any money you contribute, you use that direct payment to pay for the costs of your care. Your support plan sets out the care you need. You must use your direct payment to meet the needs in your support plan.
We might pay your direct payment to you or to someone else on your behalf, and you might get help with using your direct payment.
What is changing?
- From 1 April 2021 we will start to make all new direct payments via a direct payment card account
- From 1 April 2021 we will start to work with existing direct payment users to plan which direct payments we will move to card accounts first. We aim to have all existing direct payments moved to card accounts by April 2022
- We aim to have a new relationship with organisations that help people manage their direct payments, from April 2022. We will share more information about this later in 2021, or early in 2022
We are working towards making direct payment card accounts available as close to 1st April 2021 as possible. There are some technical set up changes to our system that we are making in the background, but we are trying to have everything ready for as soon as possible after April 2021.
Why have we decided to pay direct payments via a direct payment card account?
We think direct payment card accounts will be better because, once set up:
- you won’t need a cheque book
- you won’t need to send bank statements or receipts to us anymore – we will be able to look directly into your card account online for information we need
- you will have immediate access to your direct payment monies and be able to look at your balance online whenever you want
- they are a safe and easy way to make payments for your care
- money can be sent and received from the card account in the same day
- you cannot go overdrawn using the card account
- you can choose a trusted person to help run the card account with you
- you can use a smart phone, tablet or computer to access your card account
What does this mean for you?
If you have a new direct payment from 1 April 2021, we will pay your direct payment to you via a card account. We are working towards making direct payment card accounts available as close to 1 April 2021 as possible.
If you have an existing direct payment, we will move this to a card account between April 2021 and April 2022. The amount of direct payment that we pay you, and what you spend it on, will not change because of the move to card accounts. The move will not stop you spending your direct payments as agreed in your care plan.
If you are an existing direct payment holder and the following apply to you, you are likely to move to a direct payment card account soonest after April 2021:
- You have support from an organisation that helps manage your direct payment. Do not worry if this is you; your support organisation will do most of the work involved and guide you through any changes you need to make
- You have a computer or another way to get online that you are confident about using
We think it will be easier for people with help from a support organisation, and who can get online, to move to a direct payment card account. That is why this group of people are likely to move to a direct payment card account soonest after April 2021. We hope to make the easiest changes first.
If you don’t have help from a support organisation or a way to get online, you are more likely to move to a card account later in 2021. Whenever it is your turn to move to a card account, we will help you.
Please do not worry about these changes. Your service will remain the same, it is just the way it is administered that will change. The finance team at focus will work with you to ensure the change is smooth and you understand what is happening. You do not need to do anything until the finance team at focus contact you. It may be some months until they contact you. For now, continue your direct payment account as normal.
What to do if you are worried?
We have created ‘frequently asked questions’ (FAQ) which you can read.
If you want to talk through what a direct payment card account might mean for you, please phone the community care finance team on 0300 330 2910.
If you want to share your worries with an organisation that is independent from us, you can phone Healthwatch on 01472 361459. Healthwatch will not be able to answer technical questions about direct payment card accounts, but they can listen to your general concerns about the changes.
What you need to do now
You don’t need to do anything differently now. We will contact you again to talk about what a direct payment card account might mean for you in more detail. If you would like to phone us before we do that, please use one of the numbers written above.
We know that any change can be unsettling. We want to reassure you that we will help you to make the move to direct payment card accounts as easy as possible. Remember, the service you get via a direct payment will not change because of this move.
As our plans for direct payments develop, we will keep placing updates on this webpage.
Direct Payments Newsletters
Direct Payments Policy
If you would like to read our direct payment policy, it’s available on the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group website under the heading ‘adult services publications and policies’.