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Direct payments - who can have them

This advice applies to Wales

Can you have direct payments instead of a care package arranged by the local authority? Find out on this page.

Who can receive direct payments

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Many people who receive care packages arranged by their local authority can choose to receive cash payments instead, to allow them to arrange their own care.

Before making direct payments, the local authority (LA) must be satisfied that all the following apply:

  • the person who is entitled to a care package has needs which can be met using direct payments
  • the payments will be made to someone who is capable of managing them (either alone or with the help available)
  • either the person entitled to the care package agrees to have direct payments being made, or someone agrees on their behalf.

Who has a right to have direct payments

Unless you are excluded from the right to receive direct payments, you will have a right to receive them if one of the following applies:

  • you are aged 16 or over, and entitled to a community care service
  • you have parental responsibility for a disabled child under 16 who is entitled to a community care service
  • you are a carer aged 16 and or over and an assessment has decided you are entitled to a carer's service
  • you have been appointed as a ‘suitable person’ to receive and manage direct payments on behalf of someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to direct payments.

Sometimes disabled young people aged 16 or 17 disagree with their parents about whether they or their parents should receive the direct payments. In these cases, the LA should consider whether the young person has the ability to manage the direct payments themselves. If the LA is satisfied that the young person is able to manage the direct payments, with appropriate support, it must make the payments to the young person.

A young person who has been told the payment will be made to their parents, has a right to make a 'formal representation' about the decision to the LA. The LA must help the young person to make the representation and arrange access to an advocacy service.

Who may be allowed to have direct payments

If you have been ordered to receive care services under mental health or criminal justice law, you do not have a right to receive direct payment to allow you to arrange the care. The LA may still be willing to allow you to have direct payments.

If you also have other care needs in addition to the care you have been ordered to receive, you may have a right to receive direct payments to pay for those needs.

The Welsh Government guidance about direct payments has more information about people who may be allowed to have direct payments.

Who cannot have direct payments

You cannot have direct payments if a court has ordered that you must obey certain conditions in relation to drug or alcohol dependence. More details are available in Annex C of the Welsh Government guidance.

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