Personal Budgets and Direct Payments

What is a Personal Budget?

A personal budget is Social Services money you can use to buy your own care and support services. The amount depends on

  1. your needs in your social care assessment, and
  2. how much money or savings you have.

The personal budget amount should be enough to meet your assessed needs.

It is up to you how to use your personal budget. Use it to make sure your needs are met:

  • in the way you want them to be, and
  • by the people, or companies, or services you want help from.

Brent council – guide to personal budget

What can I use my personal budget for?

You have the right to choose what your personal budget is used for. But you must use it on things or services that meet the needs and outcomes in your social care assessment. ‘Outcomes’ means the changes or improvements that help you live more independently.

You are the best person to decide how your personal budget is used. You are free to use the money in the way that makes most sense for you. Be creative about how you use the money.

Examples of how other people have spent their personal budget

  • Employing a personal assistant to work with you day-to-day
  • Social activities like going out to see friends or meet new people
  • Going to the theatre, cinema, church or a museum
  • Joining a gym or buying a bicycle to take exercise with
  • Buying a computer to use the internet, or buying other technology
  • Paying for travel like train, bus fares or petrol money, or going on holiday
  • Taking somebody out for a meal to say thank you for supporting you

Examples of things you cannot spend a personal budget on

  • Buying or doing anything that is against the law
  • Anything that will bring the council into disrepute. ‘Disrepute’ means things that will disgrace the council
  • Buying alcohol, cigarettes or illegal drugs
  • Gambling
  • Paying for day-to-day things like your gas bill, rent or mortgage
  • Paying debts off

Mental Capacity Act 2005

Everyone has the right to make decisions for themselves. Most adults can make all their own decisions. Some adults can make some decisions. A very small number of adults can not make any decisions. The Mental Capacity Act is a law that protects people who can not make decisions because they have

  • dementia, or
  • a learning disability, or
  • a brain injury or disease, or
  • a mental health condition.

The Mental Capacity Act says that when someone needs to make a decision, everyone involved should

  1. Assume they can make that decision themselves, until there is proof they can not, and
  2. Support the person so that they can make decisions for themselves, and
  3. Allow the person to make unwise decisions, if they understand what they are doing, and
  4. Only make a decision for that person, if it is in that person’s best interest, and
  5. Always use the least restrictive way of supporting that person.

Get an independent advocate to help you make as many decisions for yourself, as you can.

NHS – what is the Mental Capacity Act?

the Government – Mental Capacity Act in EasyRead

Independent advocates in Brent – Voiceability 

What is Direct Payment?

You can choose to manage a personal budget yourself by getting it paid directly to you. This is direct payment.

Direct payment gives you the responsibility for buying your support in from companies and services. This includes employing people to help you, called Personal Assistants.

You have to keep all the records, bank statements, receipts and papers to show Brent Social Services you are spend the money to meet your assessed needs. They can ask to see these records. Keep your direct payments money and personal money separate. Open a separate bank account for your personal budget money.

You must be fully aware of your responsibilities and obligations if you employ a Personal Assistant. Your responsibilities include things like paying National Insurance contributions and buying Employer’s Liability Insurance.

You do not have to get direct payments if you do not want to. It is your choice. Get advice before you decide.

Brent Direct Payments Support Service
Tel: 0208 937 2423
Online referral form

Brent Council – direct payments Fact Sheet

Choose 1 of the 7 options below

Option 1 Social Care Assessments

Option 2 Being eligible for social care services

Option 3 Care and support plans

Option 4 Paying for social care

Option 5 Re-ablement services

Option 6 If you are a carer

Option 7 Making a complaint

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