Direct payments

direct payments

If you or someone you care for get help from social services, then you can apply for direct payments. These extra payments let you choose and buy the services you need yourself, instead of getting them from your council.

So, if you use a trained babysitter or 'respite carer' to babysit or do days out with your SEN or disabled child then you might be able to get a special budget to pay for it. This budget is called a direct payment.

The Assessment

You can only get direct payments if you’ve been assessed by your social services department. The assessments are usually done at home. A disability social worker will go through your day to day activities and put together a care plan detailing what you need.

Sometimes, you can find the assessment criteria for your local social services department online. It might be a good idea to 'Google it' and have a look through the document in advance to see if you might be eligible.

During the assessment, take notes of what is being said as well as the assessors contact details and name. You could always send your notes via email after the meeting and thank them for their time. That way, everybody feels like they're working together as a team.

Who are Direct Payments for?

You might be able to get Direct payments if you are a...

  • disabled person aged 16 or over (with short or long-term needs)
  • a disabled parent for children’s services
  • carers aged 16 or over including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child.
  • elderly people who need community care services

How do I Apply for Direct Payments?

To receive direct payments, you first need to contact your local council or trust to ask them to assess your care needs. How much you get depends on your financial circumstances, and you might need to top it up with money of your own. APPLY HERE for Direct Payments.

How do direct payments work?

Direct payments go straight into your bank, post office, building society or other savings account. The council have to agree in advance what you spend your personal budget on. This can be changes as your circumstances and needs change.

You might to be able to use direct payments for...

  • short breaks
  • help to go to a youth club or other activity
  • personal care

Remember that this is all about a partnership between you and the professionals involved to make the right decisions for you as a family.


Direct Payments are not automatic!

Call your social services department or disability social worker to talk through you options.

Sky Badger knows that finding help is tricky, so please look through Sky Badger's website to find even more support for your whole family.

The Good News...

Direct Payments can bring you more independence and choice in how you manage care.

  • you will take control of your own care and support services.
  • you will have more choice in selecting the services and support tailored to your needs.
  • If you're confident with money and paperwork this is definitely for you, if not, you can still get support.
  • If you're great at keeping receipts and invoices and love getting  reports and paperwork to your direct payment team on time.

The Not So Good News...

This might not be for you is...

  • you don't like the idea of being an employer – that's what direct payments require you to be.
  • you’re not goos at keeping records and receipts.
  • if you or the person you're caring for you spends frequent or long periods of time in hospital.
  • if you’re happy letting your local authority provide you with care services you need.

Sky Badger can also help you with...

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)


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Not sure where to turn?


Contact our helpdesk

Do you need specific help for your disabled or special needs child? Click here to tell us more about what you're looking for and our helpdesk team will do their very best to find you what you need. All of our advice is confidential and we will not share your details or personal information with anyone.