Northern Ireland: Personal budgets

4. How can a person get direct payments?

A person with dementia or a carer can request a direct payment by contacting their local trust and asking for an assessment. Details for your local trust can be found in your local telephone directory, at your GP surgery, or through Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland (see 'Other useful organisations'). A social worker, care manager or social care assessor will then visit to discuss and assess the kind of support needed.

It can be helpful to write a list of the types of support needed before the assessment takes place – for example, a person may need help with cooking, eating, bathing and dressing. Keeping a diary for a week before the assessment can help to build this list.

If a direct payment is offered, the amount will be based on the number of hours of services needed, multiplied by an hourly rate. The hourly rates vary across the five HSC trusts in Northern Ireland. The rate offered by a trust may be higher or lower than the actual hourly fee required to pay for a particular service.