Personal budgets and direct payments

Personal budgets

A personal budget is an amount of money made available to meet your social care and support needs following a care assessment. Personal budgets can help to give you more choice and control over how you receive the support you need to help you to live independently.

A personal budget can be taken as a payment made directly to you, which is known as a direct payment. Or, if you would prefer, it can be managed for you by the council, or a partner organisation.

Using your personal budget

You may choose how to spend your personal budget, providing that it meets your eligible social care needs based on the outcomes agreed and outlined in your care and support plan.

Some examples of how a personal budget can be used include:

  • arranging a care agency to provide you with care and support at home with things like getting dressed, preparing a meal, washing and toileting
  • arranging day care activities with a care provider
  • arrange and pay for respite care - to give you and your carers a short break
  • pay for any support you may need when your carer takes a break.


Not everyone is eligible for a personal budget. In some cases a person's needs may not be great enough, or they may have too much money to qualify for council funding.

The value of a personal budget is based on the cost of meeting your eligible unmet care needs.

Direct payments

A direct payment is a personal budget taken as a cash payment, made directly to you. It can also be paid directly to an authorised person or organisation acting on your behalf.

Direct payments can be used to buy your own care and support, and can give you a greater ability to choose and control your own care services and help you to achieve better outcomes.

Using your direct payment

You can use a direct payment to employ your own personal assistant to help and support you, and pay them a wage from your direct payment. If you employ someone directly as a personal assistant, expert help and advice is available on how to calculate and pay your employee’s wages, and how to undertake your responsibilities as an employer.

You may also use your direct payment to pay for certain types of equipment to help you live independently at home.

If you take your personal budget as a direct payment, you will need to keep a record of how you spend the money and the amounts that you hold in the bank account that you use for your direct payments - but you can get help with this if you need it. 

We will need to see your direct payment records usually every three months.