8. Frequently asked questions
What if I disagree with the amount of money in my personal budget allocation?
If you have put together a support plan and you don't agree with the amount allocated in your personal budget, speak to your social worker or care manager and ask them to explain their decision in writing. If you feel that the amount of money is not enough to achieve the outcomes identified, the local authority must show how they plan to achieve them with this amount of money. You might want to involve an advocate or support worker to help you.
If, after negotiating with the social worker and a manager, you still feel the decision is unfair, you can make a formal complaint. Contact your social worker or local authority and ask them about their complaints process.
The same process can be followed if the local authority does not agree with your support plan or what you want to spend the personal budget on.
What if I do not spend all the money allocated in my personal budget?
It is important that the money allocated is spent. If it is not used, the local authority might decide that the care needs are not as great as are indicated in the support plan. This means the care package and the money to pay for it could be reduced.
What if I want to keep an existing service?
If you already receive services (for example an agency home care worker visiting to help with personal care) that were set up before the personal budgets system was in place, you may prefer to keep this arrangement. In this case, the local authority can manage the personal budget for you. However, you should be provided with all of the information and support required to make the decision, allowing you to make a positive choice. There should always be support available to help you to manage a direct payment, if you would
How do I ensure that I keep safe?
It is important to be aware of any potential for abuse or harm that may occur when the arrangements are made. Although the local authority must protect people who may be in vulnerable circumstances, risk is an accepted part of life. The goal should be to manage risks in ways that improve your quality of life, while offering you protection from harm if you are vulnerable. This should be achieved through regular reviews of the services being used and how the personal budget is being spent.
What will the effect on my benefits be?
Personal budgets are not a replacement of income. They are not part of taxable income and they do not affect any other benefits.