6. Information and support
There are a range of information and support services available for assistance with personal budgets. However, they are not available everywhere. A social worker or other support worker will be able to offer information about local advocacy, information and advice services. If the social worker indicates that there is no local organisation to offer support, then they must offer support. It is important to ask for it.
Examples of the type of support that the social worker might suggest are:
- If someone needs help to manage their direct payments, the social worker can ask a friend or relative of the person, or someone else who has authority to act on their behalf.
- If the person wants to employ their own PA, the social worker can provide information about organisations that help to arrange employer's liability insurance, and help with recruiting a PA.
- The social worker can signpost to a broker or payroll agency, who will work out how much national insurance and tax must be paid to a PA each month. There is usually a charge for this service, but the person can pay for that using part of the direct payment.
- If someone wants to buy care from an agency, the social worker can supply a list of agencies to choose from.
Local authorities are required to support people in managing personal budgets. Although everyone must be offered the direct payment method, they must also be supported if they would prefer services arranged by the local authority.
Having made an informed choice about care and support, the person should:
- receive a regular statement showing how their personal budget has been spent, and the remaining balance
- have easy access to support services that encourage them to think about new ways to use the personal budget flexibly to get the care and support that is most suitable for their needs.
People who pay for all of their own care (self-funders)
A person may be assessed as eligible for help, but have income and/or capital assets that mean they are not eligible for state-funded care. This does not mean that they have to cope alone. Even if they are paying for part or all of their own care to meet their assessed needs, the local authority should still provide information and support, if needed, to help to access and organise the services they choose.