Direct payments

Direct payments are one way of managing the money you get for your child's care and needs.

You can choose to get money to buy the help you need instead of having it organised by us. This personal budget is given to you in the form of payments paid directly into a bank account.

You can also get direct payments in your own right if you are a disabled young person aged 16 and over, and if you are able to manage your payments alone or with help.

You'll need to open a separate bank account for the direct payments. This must be kept separate from your personal bank account and you must provide bank statements to us when we ask for them.

You can add your own money to this account if you want to buy additional services.

We will pay your direct payment into this bank account every 28 days.

Who can get direct payments

To get direct payments, you must:

  • live in Lambeth with the disabled child or young person
  • have an assessment of your needs and the child or young person’s needs, completed by a social care worker
  • be able to manage a direct payment with or without help
  • be parent or carer of a disabled child or young person.

Alternatively, you must:

  • be a disabled young person aged 16 and over, living in Lambeth 
  • have had an assessment of your needs done by a social care worker
  • be able to manage direct payments on your own or with help.

How you can use direct payments

You can use your direct payments for:

  • personal care
  • overnight or daytime short breaks
  • support to access leisure or community activities
  • a combination of these.

You can't use your direct payments for:

  • buying services from us or any other local authority
  • employing someone who lives with you
  • paying for health care services, including equipment that the NHS provides, such as vaccination or immunisation, health screening, NHS health checks, or, services that are provided by your GP, prescriptions and dental charges
  • equipment and adaptations available through the Disabled Facilities Grant
  • long-term residential care
  • residential education
  • any services that are not part of your child’s assessed needs
  • household expenses
  • paying for childcare so that a parent or carer can work.

How to get a direct payment

If your child has a personal budget and you’d like to change to direct payments, speak to your child’s social worker.

Your responsibilities as an employer

If you use your direct payments to employ a personal assistant (PA) to meet the needs of your child, you’ll have certain responsibilities for anyone you employ.

You’ll be given advice from a children’s direct payment adviser with this.

This will include:

  • accessing advice on tax and national insurance
  • help with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
  • help with other issues to help you manage your responsibilities as an employer.

If the person employed will be working in a school environment to support the young person, then there must be a service level agreement in place with the school.

This needs to include:

  • any induction or training the school requires the person to undertake, for example, health and safety and first aid
  • any security measures that the person will need to adhere to, for example, if a pass is required to get around the building
  • a brief outline of duties and responsibilities of that person
  • point of contact in the school for the person in cases of emergency
  • confirmation that a DBS check has been completed and the DBS number
  • a contingency plan for if the person supporting the young person is off sick or doesn't turn up.

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