Direct payments are local council payments for people who have been assessed by social services as needing care and who would like to pay for and manage their own care. Both individuals with care needs and carers can receive direct payments. Direct payments are not compulsory for people who require care, councils can still provide services directly to people who do not want to manage their own care services.
Direct payments can be used to arrange services or equipment to meet care needs that the social services assessment highlighted. Examples may be employing carers or a personal assistant to meet personal care needs, or getting help with laundry or cleaning. This may involve services provided by social services themselves, or from private or less traditional providers of care or services. Reviews are carried out to make sure the individual's outcomes are being met and that the money is being spent appropriately.
In many areas, independent support organisations have been set up to help people receiving direct payments to set up and manage the package of services they need such as local Independent Living projects and Disability Rights UK.
Individual Service Fund or budget
Some areas operate a similar scheme called Individual Service Fund or budget. These operate on similar principles to direct payments but the individual's money can be held by a third party organisation that administers the funds on the individual's behalf so they do not have to take on the responsibility of managing the money.
Grants and financial help
Find out about the organisations that can help and the ways you can apply for grants and finance.
If you have MS you may be entitled to free prescriptions for your medication or travel to receive NHS treatment.
Find out more about the government benefits that are available for people with disabilities, care needs or who care for other people.