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Hertfordshire County Council

How direct payments work

First, we work out what care you need.  We call this a 'care needs assessment'.

Then we work out if you need to pay anything towards your care. We let you know whether you can get direct payments and we'll work out together how much money you need.

If you can get direct payments, you'll then be able to choose and arrange your own care, with help if you need it.

We'll give you a pre-paid card which you can use to spend your direct payments and buy the care you need. 

If you receive a carers direct payment, we'll usually pay this into your bank account unless you would like a pre-paid card.


Using your direct payments

You can use the pre-paid card we give you to spend your direct payments.

If you don't think you can manage the payments yourself, you can choose someone else to look after your payments for you. That might be a family member, friend or organisation.

You can use your direct payments to buy the care equipment and services you need.  For example, you might:

  • set up regular payments to pay someone you receive support from, for example, a care agency or personal assistant
  • pay a care agency for a service
  • buy care equipment in a shop or online.


You can't use your card for things that don't meet the outcomes identified in your current care and support plan. If you don't have a copy of your care and support plan, contact your social care worker or call us on 0300 123 4042.


Employing someone with your direct payments

You can use your direct payments to employ a personal assistant. Some people say this gives them the most control over the help they get. This option comes with the responsibility of being an employer.

This might sound complicated but you can get free independent advice


Carers direct payments

You're a carer if you help an adult friend or family member who couldn't manage without you – even if you're not paid.

All carers are entitled to a carers assessment. Once you’ve had a carers assessment, we could agree to give you a direct payment to help your wellbeing and support you in your caring role.

Carers direct payments don’t undergo a financial assessment and don’t financially contribute to any direct payment given. 


If you're already getting care from us

If we already arrange and pay for your care services but you'd like to get direct payments, contact your social care worker or call us on 0300 123 4042.

More about direct payments (PDF, 5MB)


Get independent advice

Purple Direct Payment Support Service give free advice and help to:

  • set up and use direct payments
  • find support from social care organisations, including employing a Personal Assistant
  • be a good employer.


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