Understanding Direct Payments

A direct payment is a cash amount given by social services so that you can buy care services for yourself.

By giving you money instead of providing a social care service, direct payments aim to give you more flexibility, choice and control in deciding how your care is delivered.

There is no guarantee that you will qualify for this benefit, as local authorities have different criteria about who is eligible. Direct payments are often for people who are classed as having substantial or critical social care needs.

To enquire about your eligibility contact your local Adult Social Care department to ask for a needs assessment. Visit www.gov.uk/apply-direct-payments to search for the contact details of the local authority office that deals with direct payments near you.

Direct payments are available in England, Scotland and Wales for people over 16.


Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is up to date, however changes in the law over time may affect the accuracy of some content. The information provided does not constitute legal or professional advice. You should always check details regarding your welfare rights with a local advice centre or the Department for Works and Pensions.

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