Paying for care with direct payments

  • 22
  • Oct

If you are eligible to receive support from the council following a social care assessment, you are allocated an amount of money called a personal budget. You can choose to receive that money as a direct payment, which lets you buy the care and support services that work best for you.

We speak to Islington resident, Alyson Ruddick, who explains how direct payments have worked for her sons Perry and Adam, who both have ATR-x Syndrome; a genetic condition which means they have severe learning disabilities.

“My sons both need help around the clock and with things like washing and shaving – so it’s important they can decide who sees to their personal care needs. Direct payments allow them to make those choices.”

Paying for the support you need

A direct payment can be used to pay for support and services which have been agreed in a support plan with Adult Social Services. This can be things like care provider services, staying in touch with friends and family, building new social networks, or paying toward education, leisure or social activities.

Adam and Perry’s condition means they can’t manage their own direct payments, so Alyson does that on their behalf. She explains how, “We use their direct payment to employ Personal Assistants (PAs) to help look after them. We can interview and employ PAs ourselves and make sure they are the right people for them. Adam and Perry have fantastic PAs who have been with them a long time, so they really understand what they want and need.”

Living independently

Around 25 per cent of adults receiving support from social services in Islington choose direct payments, which for many means they can live more independently. Alyson explains, “I’ve always encouraged my sons to be as independent as possible, so we have worked with the boys PAs to make sure they don’t lose the skills that we have worked so hard to achieve.

“They’ve got a really good quality of life and that’s been made possible because of the direct payments they receive.

“They both live in their own homes and pursue the activities they want to do. The youngest Adam is the thespian and Perry is the sportsman. They need to have a PA with them when they go out, but they stay really active and regularly go out for lunch or days out.”

Getting help to manage a direct payment

Many people who need support to manage their direct payment get help from friends, family or social care professional. For people like Alyson who employ PAs, the council’s Direct Payments Team is here to help. Alyson explains, “I’ve been managing my son’s direct payments for 10 years. I was a little apprehensive taking it on initially, but the support I received from the Direct Payments Team was second to none and it’s always been there. They help you at the beginning to set things up and do all the necessary paper work to employ a PA and keep financial records.

“I would encourage anybody who receives social care and support to just give it a try, because they give you more freedom and flexibility to get the right care for you. From our experience, they really can change lives for the better.”

Find out more about direct payments

If you are already receiving support from adult social services and want to know if a direct payment could work for you, speak to your social care professional.

To find out more about using a direct payment to employ a PA, you can contact the Direct Payments Team. Email directpayments@islington.gov.uk, call 020 7527 8164 or visit the website

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