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Frequently Asked Questions

Can the person make an additional payment (top up)?

You can choose to pay an amount above the Personal Budget if your choice costs more than the Local Authority would normally pay for your care. This does not form part of your Personal Budget as it does not reflect the cost of the Local Authority meeting your needs.


Using agencies

You may want to use an agency to provide your support.  If you use an agency, you will not be the employer as the agency will be responsible for managing staff and will pay their wages.

You will be required to pay the agency’s invoice.  Ensure you have discussed all your arrangements with the agency and the agency have given you a breakdown of all their costs in writing.  You do not want to have unexpected costs such as charges for mileage and bank holidays that you have not agreed to pay. For more information of providers in your area the following link is provided Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Before you decide to buy a service from an agency, we recommend that you ask:

  • to see a copy of their insurance policy
  • if all their staff has had a Disclosure Barring Service (DBS) check
  • their registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)
  • if the agency employs the staff, they meet all their tax and national insurance payments
  • how will they deal with any complaint you may have?
  • what training will the agency provide its staff and what qualifications and experience do they have
  • how they manage their staff and how often someone will come and check you are happy with the service being provided
  • if they carry out a risk assessment for you and the staff
  • what cover will be in place to cover staff holiday and sickness
  • if you will be given copies of the hours that the staff work so that you can pay the correct amount
  • how much it will cost you to use their service and how to pay the money to them
  • how you can pay them using your prepaid card account
  • for the full cost of your support in writing

As you are contracting with the agency directly, they must provide you with a contract that both parties will sign and agree too. You must keep a copy of this for your own records.

You must receive an invoice from them for hours that have been worked.  It is your responsibility to check these hours to ensure that it is correct.

If the agency tells you they will not be able to continue providing care for you, please contact us as soon as possible.

Once you have been working with individual members of staff for some time, you may think of employing them directly as a Personal Assistant and not using the agency. Some agency agreements allow you to employ their staff directly but are very likely to charge a fee or have a clause to prevent this as part of their conditions for providing the service for you. If you are considering this, please contact the agency and request their policy.


Keeping paperwork

Some people with a Direct Payment will have a Direct Payment card account. One of the best things about having a card account is you do not need to send in bank statements showing how you have spent your Direct Payment. This is because we will be able to see this information ourselves by looking at your account online. The card account allows you to upload invoices and receipts for everything paid from your Direct Payment account.

Whichever way you receive your Direct Payment, you need to keep records. This includes paperwork relating to any Personal Assistants you employ such as payslips, timesheets, payments to HM Revenues and Customs (‘the tax man’), liability insurance and invoices from employment support providers. If you do not have a Direct Payment card account you will also need to keep bank statements. Documents should be kept for six years.


What do you do if some who receives a Direct Payment dies?

When someone receiving a Direct Payment dies, we need to be informed so we can stop the arrangements that are in place.

You will be asked for the name of the executor or the person who will be dealing with the affairs of the deceased. The executor will be named in the deceased’s will as the person who will deal with their affairs after their death. They will also ask if there is a solicitor.

If there is a solicitor involved please give their name and contact details, including their address and telephone number. We need this information as we need to know whom to send correspondence to.

The Direct Payments Team will close down the Direct Payment and  write to the executor /solicitor to explain and support you regarding the Direct Payments account and fulfilling all the legal requirements.

If you are not the executor of the will

It is very important that you explain the Direct Payments scheme to the executor. They need to be made aware that the remaining funds, after all contractual and legally required sums have been paid out, should be returned to the Local Authority as this is public money belonging to the council. They need to be made aware that the prepayment card account or the bank account is a dedicated Direct Payment account and that the remaining money in it, after all contractual and legally required sums have been paid out, needs to be returned to us.

If there is no will

The person is said to have died ‘intestate’. Usually a close relative like a spouse, child or parent will be able to apply for the legal right to sort out the estate of the person who has died. In order to be able to administer someone’s estate you (or the friend or relative) will need to apply to the Probate Registry for a ‘Grant of Letters of Administration’.

It is advisable, if the Direct Payment is paid into a bank account, that you obtain a solicitor to help you through the process. On receipt of the grant, you or the person will become the ‘administrator’ of the estate. The grant provides proof to banks, building societies and other organisations that you have authority to access and distribute funds that were held in the deceased’s name.

You will then be able to access the Direct Payment bank account and will be able to make any payments that need to be made. Once all payments have been made, you will need to return the remaining money to us.

Where there is a prepaid card account, the Local Authority will work with you to ensure all the responsibilities are met and the remaining balance will be paid back to us.

Last updated: 05/04/2023