Direct Payments can be offered to anyone with eligible social care needs including disabled children aged 16 and 17.
National regulations need a person to be able to consent to receive Direct Payments to have them. This means you must be able to understand what Direct Payments are and what they are there to provide.
Before receiving Direct Payments you must read and sign the Direct Payments Agreement. The Agreement sets out the terms and conditions of Direct Payments.
Direct Payments cannot be paid to people who are subject to a drug rehabilitation, subject to an alcohol treatment or released from prison on licence.
For the full list read The Care and Support (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014.
Person’s ability to consent
If there is any doubt about a person's ability to consent to Direct Payments, a formal mental capacity assessment will be undertaken in line with the Mental Capacity Act 2005.
Consenting to Direct Payments should not be confused with the ability to manage and use the funds. You may understand the rules of Direct Payments but need help to manage the money. There are many ways of supporting people using Direct Payments, including deciding on who receives the funds.
A person who is assessed as lacking the capacity to consent to receive Direct Payments may not personally receive them. However an authorised person may do so and use the funds to purchase care.
Choosing who receives the payments
If you have consented to receive Direct Payments you may:
- receive the money yourself
- receive the money yourself with the help of a nominated person
- decide that the money is paid to a nominated person to be managed on your behalf
A nominated person
A nominated person is someone chosen to help with on-going management of the money, or receive and manage the Direct Payments on behalf of the person. Any help given can vary depending on your needs.
Therefore a nominated person could potentially receive and manage all of the finances, or just provide support with budgeting, making payments and so on.
Please note: Prior to The Care Act 2014 the role of a nominated person was known as a Third Party.
An authorised person
If someone has been found as lacking the capacity to consent to receive Direct Payments, and yet Direct Payments would be beneficial, an alternative recipient may be sought. This alternate recipient is known as an authorised person.
An authorised person should be anyone who is a court appointed deputy or holds Lasting Power of Attorney, and is willing to receive Direct Payments.
If there is no willing representative, an authorised person may be a family member, or friend who is currently involved in the care for the service user and is known to them.
Where a representative exists but doesn't want to receive Direct Payments someone else can agree to do this.
An authorised person must be assessed as being suitable by a practitioner (in line with the Care and Support (Direct Payments) Regulations 2014) before they can receive the Direct Payments. If an authorised person is identified, they must sign the Authorised Person Direct Payments agreement and agree to the responsibilities and conditions within it.
An authorised person should never use Direct Payments to pay themselves to provide care, or benefit financially for assuming the role.
Please note: Prior to the Care Act 2014, the role of an authorised person was known as Suitable Person.