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Direct payments are cash sums we pay to people so they can buy the care and support they need. 

Direct payments allow you to take more of the decisions that affect your life. They give you more choice and control of your own care.

You can spend your direct payment on any services as long as they are legal, keep you safe and healthy, and meet your eligible needs. Your council will pay your direct payment into your bank or building society account.

Direct payments do not count as income and will not affect your benefits. For example, with direct payments you can employ the person or agency you choose, decide on the hours of employment and the tasks you want completed.

Who is eligible for direct payments

People who are eligible for adult care services can receive direct payments.

If you are not already receiving adult care services, somebody from the social work team will first undertake an assessment to identify your care and support needs and discuss these with you. If this shows that you entitled to adult care services you then have a right to ask to be considered for direct payments instead of Bedford Borough Council arranging services for you.

You may need the care services because you:

  • are aged 16 and over and have a disability or illness (this can include learning disabilities and mental health problems)
  • have parental responsibility for a disabled child or children; or
  • are a carer aged 16 and over

You must also:

  • be willing to have Direct Payments
  • agree that you understand what having Direct Payments entails; and
  • be able to manage the payments either alone or with help

All local councils must also offer direct payments to people who lack mental capacity. This means people who are unable to decide for themselves whether or not to receive direct payments. You may be able to help someone you know in this position by receiving and managing a direct payment on his or her behalf.

Examples of what you can use direct payments for

You can use a direct payment to pay for services, equipment, or activities that meet your social care needs. You can buy these from organisations or individuals.

Examples of things you can buy with your direct payment:

  • care and support to help you live in your own home
  • employing a personal assistant to help you do different activities
  • transport and travel training
  • support in college or in a job
  • short breaks and leisure activities

We must offer the option of direct payments to any eligible person who requests it.

Call 01234 267422 for more information on direct payments.

What kind of support can I get with direct payments?

We have approved approved some organisations, independent from us, that can help you set up personalised support. This includes a range of services to help you set up and manage your direct payments, such as:

  • help to identify services you might be interested in
  • advice and assistance with recruiting and employing your own staff like a personal assistant
  • help to identify other suitable agencies if this interests you
  • many other matters relating to using Direct Payments

Your care worker can provide details of these support organisations.

We encourage all eligible service users to opt for direct payments as a means of meeting their care and support needs.  If in the end you decide it is not for you, you will still be able to receive care services provided for you.