What is an Individual budget?
Individual budgets are a central part of the personalisation plan, the drive to give service users choice and control over the care and support services they receive.
What is an individual budget and how do I get an individual budget?
Individual budgets are an allocation of funding given to service users after an assessment which should be enough to meet their assessed needs. Users can either take their personal budget as a direct payment, or – while still choosing how their care needs are met and by whom – leave councils with the responsibility to buy the services. Or users can take have some combination of the two.
For service users to receive an individual budget they have to be in touch with their local council where you will need an assessment by a Social Worker or Care Manager. These professionals will need to find out some information about you, talk to you about it and work out what your needs are.
They will ask you to answer some questions on a form called a ‘self-assessment questionnaire’. The questions are about your needs. You can look through the form, have a go at filling it in by yourself, or ask a friend, family or carer to help you. The social worker will go through it with you when they visit you.
If you have a carer, social services will want to talk to them when they do the assessment to help them understand how they support you with your needs.
Filling out the questionnaire does not always mean social services can give you money to buy your support. If they cannot give you a service, they will tell you about other people who might be able to help, like health services and other organisations.
If they can offer you a service, they will talk with you and the people who are important in your life about what your needs are. Then they will be able to tell you how much they think it will cost to get the support you need. This is an estimate of how much money you will be given. The final amount of money you are given to buy the services you need, called your individual budget, may be a bit more or less than the estimate.
How much money will I get to buy the services I need?
When social services know the cost of the social care support you need, they will ask you to let them know a provider or a carer that you want to provide the support and how much that is going to cost, or they will give you a list of organisations that they think might be able to help you. If Origin is not on that list, Origin can support you to inform the council that you would like to use Origin services.
Social services will work out if you have to pay for none of your care, some of it, or all of it. This depends on what money you have already saved up and what money you could get from the Government . This is called a ‘fairer charging assessment’.
Social services will tell you how much individual budget money you will get to buy the care services and support you need after the fairer charging assessment. We will then talk to you about whether you would like to use a direct payment to buy your care services and support.
What are direct payments?
Direct payments are cash payments given to service users in advane of community care services they have been assessed as needing, and are intended to give users greater choice in their care. The payment must be enough to enable the service user to buy services to meet their needs, and must be spent on services that meet needs.
They give responsibilities on service users to employ people, often known as personal assistants, or to appoint services for themselves. Service users can get support in fulfilling these responsibilities from direct payment support services commissioned by local authorities, often from user-led organisations.
Direct payments are available across the UK and to all service user groups, including carers, disabled children and people who lack mental capacity. However, they cannot be used to buy residential care or services provided directly by local authorities.