When it comes to the support that is available to you, the terms ‘Direct Payments’ and ‘Direct Service’ may often be something you hear. But what do they mean, how do you get them, and how can they help you?
The carers assessment
A carer’s assessment is something every carer can request. We can have an initial conversation over the phone with you about your caring role, and from this we can advise whether a full assessment would be helpful to you in terms of it enabling you to access necessary services and support.
The full assessment can be done in 1 of 3 ways; via supported self-assessment, over the phone or in person depending on your preference. This assessment is about you as a carer, your needs, and is used to determine what can be put in place to make your life and caring role easier.
At Carer Support Wiltshire, we work in partnership with Wiltshire Council to carry out the carers assessments. During these assessments, you will have the opportunity to discuss how caring is affecting your mental and physical health, and if there is anything you feel would make your caring role easier.
You can find out more about the carers assessment here – carersupportwiltshire.co.uk/information-hub/carer-assessments
A direct payment is given to carers assessed as needing support from adult social care (Wiltshire council) and who wish to have more flexibility over their support and are happy to arrange for their own care and support services rather than this being commissioned by adult social care.
The direct payment is paid monthly and depends on how many hours of support/type of support you are assessed for.
A direct payment can be put in place for a variety of reasons but can only be used for the services outlined on your support plan, which is determined and discussed during your Carers Assessment.
If you employ a personal assistant to sit with the person you care for, or hire someone as a carer, it means you act as that person’s employer. This means you are under certain legal and financial obligations. To find out more about this, the Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living has information on their website – wiltshirecil.org.uk/direct-payments-personal-budgets
A direct service is where Wiltshire council commission a care agency to provide you with support in your caring role. Usually this takes the form of someone being with the person you care for to enable you to have a regular break.
The amount of support you receive will be discussed and determined during your carers assessment.
If you choose a direct payment rather than a direct service, this budget will be given to you in the form of direct payments to a separate bank account as covered above.
Nidirect has great information and resources on direct payments and what they can and cannot be used for, along with information on other benefits you may be entitled to. Find out more here – nidirect.gov.uk/articles/direct-payments-carers
If you would like to discuss direct payments, direct services, or ask any other questions or queries you may have about a carers assessment and your caring role, please call and speak to one of our helpful team members on 0800 181 4118. We are happy to help.