Direct payments

Direct payments are payments we give you to arrange the care you need.

You use the money to arrange your support instead of us doing it for you. This gives you more flexibility and control of your care.



You can have direct payments if:

  • you’re aged 16 or over and entitled to a community care service
  • you have parental responsibility for a disabled child under 16, who is entitled to a community care service
  • you’re a carer aged 16 or over and entitled to a carer’s service
  • you’re a ‘suitable person’ for someone who lacks the mental capacity to consent to direct payments

Request direct payments

If you’re interested in having direct payments, contact your social worker or speak to adult social care to see if it’s right for you.

If you’re a carer you can request carer’s direct payments.

How your money can be paid

You get a direct payment every 4 weeks. There are different ways the money can be paid.

Spending your money

You can spend direct payments on activities and services including:

  • personal care, such as dressing, washing or eating meals
  • practical help with shopping, cleaning or preparing meals
  • up to four weeks of short breaks per year, including residential care breaks
  • recreational and leisure activities
  • some equipment

You can’t spend direct payments on:

  • permanent residential care
  • equipment or services which social care, health, housing or education services have a duty to provide
  • activities, items or care not in your support plan
  • anything illegal or harmful to your health, or the health of others

Paying for your services

Some people have to pay a charge towards the services they get. This applies to direct payments.

This is called a ‘care charge’. We discuss this with you at your social care assessment.

Managing direct payments

Direct payments can be managed by someone with care and support needs or someone they nominate. If someone does not have capacity to make a direct payment decision, an authorised person can do it for them.

Employing someone to care for you

You can employ people to provide you support, such as a carer. This includes relatives who do not live in the same household. You can employ a relative who lives with you only if we agree it is necessary to ensure your needs are met. If a direct payment is used to employ someone, the money is counted as income for the employee.

For more information about employing someone using your direct payments, read:

If you need help with the person you employ, contact us for advice.

We can get you support. This includes help with payroll, tax, national insurance and pension contributions.

More information

Page updated on: 2 August 2023

Direct Payments Support Service


Hackney Service Centre
1 Hillman Street
E8 1DY

Opening times

  • Mon to Fri: 9am - 5pm