Personal budgets

4. Size of a personal budget

The size of a personal budget depends on a number of factors. These include the type of care required to meet the assessed needs and the result of any financial assessment. Depending on income and savings, the person may have to make some contribution to their care costs, but any health services (such as home visits by a community nurse or occupational therapist) are still free.

If there are a number of ways to meet an assessed need, the local authority may agree to fund only the less expensive option. For example, if someone needs a walk-in shower and they request a luxury model, the local authority is likely to agree only to a payment for a cheaper model that meets the need. If the person insists that they want the expensive option, they may be able to 'top up' the payment themselves to meet the extra cost.

If the personal budget is to be paid as a direct payment (see 'Direct payments' below), any cost of getting independent advocacy or advice and support should also be included in the support plan and the personal budget allocation.

If the plan involves paid carers who need training to carry out their role (eg lifting and handling), the costs of training must also become part of the personal budget allocation.

Different rates may apply depending on whether the person buys support from a support agency or another type of service.