Direct payments

A direct payment is a payment made by a local authority to the parent or carer of a child or young person with disabilities, or to a young person with disabilities aged 16 or 17.

The payment enables them to buy support to meet their identified needs, instead of the local authority providing that support directly. A direct payment gives the family more flexibility, choice and control over the services they use and how they are delivered. They provide an individual service to meet their needs.

Direct payments do not affect government benefits and do not count as income.

Who can receive a direct payment and how

There are two ways to receive direct payments, depending on the level of support needed:

  • Children and young people who meet the criteria for short breaks support through the Aiming High Local Offer.
  • Children and young people who have been assessed by the disabled children team (social care) as needing care or support services

Aiming High (Local Offer)

If the child or young person meets the criteria for Aiming High, direct payments are one of the support options available.

The direct payment would enable the family to employ a support worker to support the child to access social and leisure activities outside of school hours. The family would need to be able to identify someone who is able to take on this role.

Aiming High would provide the funding and support the family with managing the direct payment. The child will be offered up to 78 hours support per year (approx.1.5 hours per week, to be used flexibly).

Disabled children team (social care)

Following a statutory assessment of need by a social worker from the disabled children team, direct payments may be identified as a way of meeting identified needs.

The appropriate assessment/plan will be completed and shared with the family. The professional will establish with the parent, carer or young person whether they are willing and/or able to manage a direct payment. The direct payment must be used as agreed in the care plan, in order to meet the assessed needs.

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