What can direct payments be used for in Northern Ireland?

Read how direct payments can be used in Northern Ireland if you're affected by dementia. 

Personal budgets and direct payments in Northern I
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Using direct payments in Northern Ireland

A range of support services are available and direct payments can be used to buy all of the support that a person has been assessed as needing, or just part of that support. Each person's needs are different and it is important to discuss with a social worker what the direct payment will be spent on. The trust must also agree what the direct payment will be used for. The trust will need the person managing the budget to keep records.

There are a number of ways that direct payments can be used to meet someone's needs, such as:

  • employing staff
  • contracting people who are self-employed
  • buying services from an agency.

The trust may agree to offer a combination of direct payments and services provided by social services, if this is what the person prefers.

For many people, the prospect of managing direct payments, particularly if this means becoming an employer, is quite daunting. Talking to someone who is already using direct payments can be helpful.

The Centre for Independent Living can also provide reassurance, support and independent advice on a wide range of matters relating to direct payments, including referral, assessment, finding staff, and managing money.

Are there restrictions on the use of direct payments?

Direct payments are made to fund services, and are not intended to be used for existing support networks within families and communities. For this reason, only in exceptional circumstances can direct payments be used to buy a service from the person's spouse or partner, or anyone who lives in the same household (unless that person is someone specifically recruited to be a live-in employee).

An individual should discuss their situation with the trust if they think that any person they would like to employ, or buy services from, might fall into one of these categories.

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