An Introduction to Personal Budgets (inc Direct Payments)
For Children and Young People aged 0-25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan
What is a Personal Budget?
A personal budget is a sum of money that may be made available to help towards the delivery of the outcomes identified in the Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
This gives parents and young people the opportunity to decide how the support they need should be provided.
What is a Direct Payment?
A Direct Payment is a payment that enables children and young people with disabilities and their families, to have greater choice, control and flexibility over their care provision.
If you are aged under 18 years, in order to receive a Direct Payment, you will need to have an assessment of your circumstances by Children’s Social Care. The Assessment will be undertaken by a Social Worker.
If you are age over 18 please view the adults' social care guidance.
If the outcome of this assessment identifies that you have an unmet need that requires Social Care support, for example help to meet personal care needs, or to provide a short break, then you are able to consider a Direct Payment to help this need to be met.
The Local Authority can commission the care and support that you need directly with a Service Provider such as a Care Agency. Or, if you opt for a Direct Payment, this allows the child’s Parent or Carer to manage their own budget and support: by employing their own Personal Assistant (PA) or by choosing their own Care Agency and funding this using their agreed budget.
A Direct Payment is paid into a separate bank account from your personal account, and must only be used to meet your assessed needs as outlined in your Child in Need/Support Plan.
If you spend a Direct Payment on something that is not part of your Support Plan, Social Care can take back the money, or end the Direct Payment Agreement.
Please Note: A Direct Payment is not another form of welfare benefit, it is a budget enabling assessed care needs to be met and allows children and their families to have greater control over their care and flexibility around when the care is delivered, and by whom.
How to apply for an Assessment
If you feel that your child has unmet needs that require an Assessment from Children’s Social Care then you can self-refer by telephoning the MASH Team at Blackburn with Daren Borough Council, Duke St on 01254 666400.
Referrals sent in by Professionals will be via a MASH Referral Form.