Most people with a direct payment will have a direct payment card account. One of the best things about having a card account is you do not need to send in bank statements showing how you have spent your direct payment. This is because we will be able to see this information ourselves by looking in your account online. The card account allows you to upload invoices and receipts for everything paid from your direct payment account.
Whatever way you receive your direct payment, you need to keep records. This includes paperwork relating to any personal assistants you employ such as payslips, timesheets, payments to HM Revenues and Customs (‘the tax man’), liability insurance and invoices from employment support providers. If you do not have a direct payment card account you will also need to keep bank statements. Documents should be kept for seven years.
Monitoring your Direct Payment
When we monitor your account, we will let you know if there is any action that you need to take. For example, you could be asked to pay any arrears in contributions you make to the cost of your social care. You could also be asked to repay money if it has not been used to meet the needs set out in your support plan, or if you have employed your spouse, partner or any close relative without our approval.
We will also check that the balance of the account is not too low or high as part of our annual auditing process. We can offer support and advice with budgeting to make sure you have sufficient funds to meet the cost of your support.
What happens if I do not spend all of my direct payment funds?
If we think you have excess funds in your account, we will complete an audit and discuss this with you and the worker that supports you (from social care, mental health or continuing healthcare). We will then decide whether the excess funds are needed to purchase support to meet your assessed needs. If the surplus funds are not needed to meet your assessed needs, they will be recouped (returned to us). We will notify you and any third party support provider.
What happens if I don’t use my direct payment appropriately?
We will always work with you to resolve any issues. You may be asked to repay any money if your direct payment has not been used to buy support or services set out in your support plan. We may decide that you need extra help with your direct payment, and agree that it should be managed by a third party. We can stop the direct payment if you continue to spend the direct payment inappropriately or illegally. We would talk to you about this, and make sure that your needs are still met, but in a different way.
What do I do if my circumstances change?
You need to let us know if your circumstances change. If your needs are not being met, we may need to review your care needs. If you are helping manage direct payments for someone else, please contact us to let us know about any changes.
What if my emergency plans do not work?
You will have discussed with your worker a plan for what you will do if any of the arrangements you made with your direct payment fail. For example, this could happen if your personal assistant goes off sick or doesn’t show up for work.
Sometimes plans do not work; if this happens, we can help make sure your identified needs are met once you have informed us. You should contact your usual worker first. If you are not sure who your worker is, please contact the Single Point of Access (SPA) on 01472 256 256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990.
What happens if I get into any difficulty with my direct payment?
If you get into difficulty with arranging the care you need, or need a review of your care needs, please contact your usual worker first. If you are not sure who your worker is, please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990.
If you are having difficulty managing your direct payments funds, contact your direct payment support provider if you have a managed account. If you do not have a managed account, please contact your usual worker first. If you are not sure who your worker is, please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990.
What happens if I need to go into hospital?
Please let us know if you have to go into hospital for any reason. You can contact your usual worker or the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990.
Remember to tell any agency you use or your personal assistant, or arrange for someone else to do that on your behalf, so they’re kept informed.
If you employ a personal assistant, the direct payment can continue if the employee’s contract of employment says that they will be retained in these circumstances. A ‘retainer’ may be paid to the personal assistant at 50% of their normal weekly wage, for a maximum of 6 weeks in a 12-month period.
What do I do if I no longer want a direct payment?
If direct payments do not work for you, we can arrange services for you instead. Simply contact your usual worker or the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990.
What do I need to do if my direct payment ends?
If you want to end your direct payment, you will need to give us at least 28 days’ notice in writing. We will usually give you 28 days’ notice if we decide to end your direct payment. There might be circumstances, such as a serious case of direct payment misuse, when we will not be able to give as many as 28 days’ notice.
You will need to give appropriate notice to any agency or personal assistant that you pay using the direct payment. Please see the separate factsheet on employing a personal assistant. You will need to pay all outstanding bills up to the end date of your direct payment. Your direct payment will be monitored so any unspent funds can be returned to us.
What happens if someone who is receiving a direct payment dies?
We must be informed so that the direct payment can be stopped. Please contact the Single Point of Access on 01472 256256 or for health direct payments contact the Continuing Healthcare Hub on 0300 330 2990. We will need the name of the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate, and any solicitor involved.
A direct payment is to pay for care and does not form part of a person’s estate. It cannot be used for funeral expenses. Any money left in the direct payment account, once all contractual obligations have been met, must be returned to us.
If you receive a direct payment, it is very important that you explain to your executor (the person you have named in your Will to deal with your affairs after your death) about your direct payment. If you don’t have a Will, you should give the same explanation to your close family members, who might act as administrator after your death (an administrator deals with your affairs if you have not made a Will). Your executor or administrator will need to find out if there are any outstanding invoices or wages that need to be paid from your direct payment account. They will need to arrange for any contributions you make to the cost of your social care to be paid to us, if there are arrears.
If a personal assistant has been employed, your support provider can help claim from the liability insurance to cover in lieu of notice and redundancy payments. If the account is frozen or there is no access to the account, in some circumstances, we may pay some of the outstanding payments such as salaries. Any money we pay will be recovered once the account has been reactivated or is accessible.
If there is no Will, you will be said to have died ‘intestate’. We recommend that you make a Will because this usually makes it easier to manage your finances once you have died.
Depending on the your level of assets (money and property) when you die, it may be necessary to apply to the Probate Registry for a grant of probate (if you have a Will) or a grant of letters of administration (if you have no Will). The grant provides proof to banks and other organisations of who has authority to access and distribute funds held in a deceased person’s name.
Further information can be found on GOV.UK, Probate estate and Death and bereavement.