Guide to personal budgets

Step 1

There are 6 main steps in the self directed support process which may lead to the allocation of a personal budget to meet your assessed eligible needs.

We will help you through these steps but you can also ask for help from your family, friends or someone that you trust.

Step 1 - You tell us about your needs

If you need help with your daily living, you can contact us through the One Stop Service and will do our best to resolve your enquiry the first time we speak to you.

We will check if you are eligible for social care support from us by asking you some questions, which we call an assessment. This might lead to identifying specific things you need help with. If you are eligible for support from us, we will tell you how much we might contribute towards the meeting your assessed needs. This is called a personal budget.

However, people sometimes contact us after a change of circumstances and cannot manage on their own for a while. We have introduced a new reablement service to help you regain independence quickly. You may be referred to this service and we will work with you to help you learn or re-learn skills that you need to live independently.

Step 2

Step 2 - We work out how much your support will cost - personal budget

 

If you need long term support after the reablement period and you meet the eligibility criteria, you will complete the supported self assessment questionnaire with one of our social care assessors.

We do the sums based on the questionnaire and tell you how much your support will cost and how much, if anything, we will contribute towards it. This is your estimated personal budget.  You will be asked to complete a financial assessment, and we use this to work out if you need to contribute towards your support and tell you how much you have to pay towards your support.

 

Personal budgets

A personal budget is the amount of money, following an assessment, which the council thinks is needed to help to live independently and safely at home. If you are eligible for support we will tell you the amount of money that we think will meet the cost of meeting your assessed needs.

 

We arrive at this figure after you have filled in the support self assessment questionnaire with us. This includes some questions about you and your situation, which we call as assessment. This helps us to identify what your needs are. If you are eligible for support from the council we will then work out a potential budget that you can spent to meet your needs.

 

A personal budget puts you in control of the support you receive, and gives you flexibility about when you receive support, and  choice  about who provides support for you. You can spend your personal budget in almost any way you choose, as long as it helps to meet the support needs and outcomes identified by you and your assessing officer.

 

We will also arrange for a financial assessment to see if you need to make a contribution towards the cost of support. Depending on your income, savings and assets, such as your home, you may have to make a contribution to the cost of your support.

You can choose to manage your personal budget in a number of ways:

 

  • take the whole personal budget as a direct payment so you can organise the support yourself or by someone else on your behalf
  • ask the council to arrange the care and support on your behalf and to pay for it directly
  • have a combination of both - take part of the personal budget as a direct payment and ask the council to manage the rest for you.

 

For example you can choose to employ your own personal assistant through direct payments, but have the council arrange and pay for other services on your behalf.

Taking your personal budget as a direct payment means that you have far more control over how the money is spent. It means that you can have flexibility, choice and more control over the support you need to help you do things that are important to you.

We want to support unpaid carers as well, so we are introducing personal budgets for carers.

 

Step 3

Step 3 - You plan your support

When you have been told your estimated personal budget, you will then draw up a support plan. This will show how you will spend your personal budget in a way that makes sense to you. You can do your own support plan or get help with it.

Your personal budget should be spent on the outcomes identified in your assessment but you can do this in a creative and a flexible way. Your assessing officer will explain this to you.

You have to tell us how you wish your personal budget to be managed. There are different ways of doing this. You can receive your personal budget in a number of ways:

  • as direct payments so you can organise the support yourself or by someone else on your behalf
  • managed budget where the council can organise the support for you
  • as a combination have a combination of both - take part of the personal budget as a direct payment and ask the council to manage the rest for you

Taking your personal budget as a direct payment means that you have far more control over how the money is spent. It means that you can have flexibility, choice and more control over the support you need to help you do things that are important to you.

For example you may recruit your own personal assistants. Alternatively, you may want to buy support from a care agency provider. You will need to tell us how you are spending your money and keep simple records.

Step 4

Step 4 - We agree your support plan

When your support plan is done it has to be agreed by us before your personal budget is made available for you to start getting the support you need. We will check that your support plan:

  • has outcomes that meets your assessed needs
  • shows the costs which, in total, are within your estimated budget
  • will keep you safe and is legal

Step 5

Step 5 - You arrange your support

You spend your personal budget on the support you need as agreed in your support plan. You will get help to find the right support that offers you the best deal and the best meets your desired outcomes.

Your assessing officer or the person supporting you will be able to offer you information and advice about managing your money and putting your support arrangements in place.

Step 6

Step 6 - We check how things are working for you

We will meet with you to review your support plan at least once every year unless your circumstances change.

The review meeting will focus on what has worked well in your support plan and how you have achieved the outcomes you told us you wanted.

We will check that your support plan is working for you and discuss what, if anything, you want to do next or need to change.