Self-directed support (direct payments)

If you require community care services or children's services in your home, you may be able to get money from the council so that you can arrange and pay for your care services yourself. These payments used to be known as direct payments, but are now called self-directed support.

What is self-directed support?

If your council has carried out a social work assessment of your needs and it has been agreed that you require community care services or children's services, you can ask the council to give the money that they would have spent on your care, directly to you.

You can then use this money to arrange and pay for the care services you need yourself. The money can't be used for anything else; it must be used to arrange services that meet your care needs.

Services could include:

  • someone coming in to help you wash

  • someone coming in to do your housework

  • someone to prepare and help you eat meals

  • someone to help you or remind you to take your medication

  • attending a day centre

  • attending college

  • getting out and about.

For example, if you need someone to help you prepare and eat your meals, you can choose if you want to employ someone yourself, or you could pay an agency to provide someone. You should be able to choose which days the person comes and at what time.

The Scottish Government's website on self-directed support has more information on where to find support in your area.

Who can get self-directed support?

You may be able to get self-directed support if you:

  • are over 16, disabled, and assessed as needing community care services, including housing support services

  • are 16-17, disabled and need housing support services

  • are a disabled parent and your child or children have been assessed as needing children's services

  • have a disabled child who has been assessed as needing children's services or whose health or development is impaired

  • are 65 or over and need care and attention because of age or infirmity

  • are 65 or over and receiving free personal and nursing care - in this case you can arrange to get the personal care element as self-directed support

  • are the attorney or guardian of someone who has been assessed as needing services and you have financial powers to act on their behalf.

Do I have to have self-directed support?

No. If you don't want to arrange your own care your council can do this for you. Or, you can choose to get self-directed support for some services and receive other services directly from the council.

Will self-directed support affect my benefits?

No, the money you receive through self-directed support won't affect your entitlement to benefits.

If you need housing advice, contact us for free.

Last updated: 29 December 2014

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

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