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Personal Budgets

What are Personal Budgets?

Personal BudgetsA Personal Budget is a sum of money allocated to you as a result of an assessment of your needs. You can use it to buy the support you need instead of traditional services being provided to you. In England this might be referred to as "Self-Directed Support (SDS)" and in Wales as "Citizen Directed Support (CDS)".

Personal Budgets offer flexibility and choice to individuals by allowing them to make their own choices about their lives. People of all ages can purchase support for themselves that better suits their individual needs.

You can use the money to arrange the services you need in a way that suits you, including accessing Direct Payments.

Am I eligible to receive a Personal Budget?

You may be eligible for a Personal Budget if you:-

  • Have been assessed as needing or receiving community care support.
  • Have a physical disability or sensory impairment.
  • Have a learning disability.
  • Have mental health condition.
  • Have parental responsibility for a child with a disability or you are a young adult aged 16 or 17.
  • Provide substantial and regular support to a person with disabilities and are over 16 years of age.

To see if you are eligible for support, you first need to have an assessment which will help you identify the outcomes that you want to achieve. This will look at what support you need to live independently and will usually take place in your home. You can have someone with you if you wish.

Before the assessment, we recommend you make a list or keep a diary in which you think about all the things you want to change and the outcomes you want to achieve. You may also consider the things you would like to do if you had the right support in place.

It can also be helpful to think about events that do not happen on a daily basis, for example having some respite or times when you may need extra support.

Some funding streams may require you to have a financial assessment, to determine whether you will have to contribute towards the cost of the support you recieve.

Once the asssessment is completed you will be provided with an indicative budget, which is the amount of money that you could receive to support you to achieve your outcomes.

What is Support Planning and Brokerage?

Once you know your indicative budget, you can start to draw up a support plan to show how you intend to use the money to achieve your outcomes. It is a living document that can be shared with others, reviewed and updated to meet your agreed outcomes.

Your support plan should include:

  • The outcomes you want to achieve in life
  • The best way of achieving these
  • The support you require
  • How to manage risks
  • Contingency arrangements

You can have assistance to write your support plan from a relative, friend or Broker. The Rowan Organisation provides a Support Planning and Brokerage service to assist you in drawing up your support plan and will work out how it can meet your outcomes in a creative, practical and cost-effective way. The brokerage service will help you to identify what services are available in your area and where you can obtain the support you require.   

Once your support plan has been created, it will go back to your funder for approval. They have to satisfy themselves that the way you use the funding will achieve your outcomes. They may make suggestions for changes or ask further questions before approving your plan. Your funder will decide which of your proposed activities it will fund and use this to confirm the amount of your Personal Budget.

How can the Rowan Organisation Support me?

The Rowan Organisation provides a wide range of support services to help you manage your Personal Budget. This can include:-

  • Helping you to write your Support Plan
  • Helping you find the services that you might need to use
  • Supporting you to decide whether to employ a Personal Assistant (PA) or to use other services
  • Support with setting up the scheme
  • Support with paperwork required by the scheme
  • Support with finding and recruiting staff
  • Providing you with information and advice on the legal requirements of being an employer

We offer practical services, including the Managed Accounts service, which can receive the money and make payments on your behalf, whilst still keeping you in control of decisions. We also offer a comprehensive Payroll service for those choosing to employ their own Personal Assistants.

We provide ongoing support when you need it, through our Information and Advice Service and local assistance from our Independent Living Advisers.

For more information on any of the services we provide, please vist "Our Services" page.

How do I manage my Direct Payments?

When you receive a Direct Payment, you will have certain responsibilities around managing the scheme, these may be different in each area. Your local team can provide you with more information and support on the requirements of the scheme in your area.

You must...

  • open a separate bank account for the money to be paid into, which keeps it separate from your personal finances. This should be a current account with a chequebook facility or internet banking
  • keep your bank statements in a safe place
  • keep receipts for any payments you make
  • follow the moitoring requirements of your funder

You must not...

  • spend your Direct Payments on anything that hasn't been agreed in your support plan - If in doubt you can check with your funder
  • send your Direct Payments on anything illegal
  • spend you Direct Payments on gambling
  • make cash-in-hand payments to your PA

Local arrangements in your area.

Each local council can run their Direct Payments scheme differently. In some areas, Direct Payments are part of a wider scheme called 'Personal Budgets'.

We can provide you with more information about how the Direct Payments work in your area and we have local teams that work closely with councils to provide a seamless service to you.

For more information about your area please select your region from the "In Your Area" menu at the top of the page.

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