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Can I use self-directed support for 'Free Personal Care'?

Yes, if you are aged 65 or over and wish to use self-directed support to buy personal care services at home you will not be asked to pay part of the cost of these services.


Will service users have to pay for the services they receive through SDS?

To receive any service from your council you will be assessed financially (means tested) to see whether you should contribute some money to help pay for it. Your council will charge you in the same way that it charges people it provides arranged services to.


If I move from one council area to another will I still get the same level of support and will I be charged the same contribution?

Not necessarily. If you move to another council you will be asked to complete an assessment. Each council will assess your level of support in the local community care context, and may therefore ask for a different level of contribution or offer a different level of support. If you are not happy with your payment see question below.


How accountable will individuals be for the use of the money?

You will be accountable. The Support Plan and the Individual Contract together say what you agree to do with the money – they form a contract. Any big changes must be agreed with the council.


What if someone can't open a bank account for their funding?

Under the Disability Discrimination Act it is illegal for banks to refuse to open an account for someone because they have a disability. However, someone must be able to understand what the account is for. If they can't, someone else – a representative or a trust – can open the account or they can have a joint account.


Will it affect benefits?

Receiving money for support does not affect benefits.


If someone works, how does this affect their funding for Self-Directed Support?

The money you get for support is the same if you are working or not working.


If it all goes wrong, what happens?

There is no guarantee that any kind of support will work for someone. This is no different with Self-Directed Support. But, there is a lot of flexibility with Self-Directed Support, so you can make big changes. If having this kind of control really doesn't suit someone, they can use the ordinary council arrangements of care planning and commissioning.



When can my council refuse to offer me SDS?


There are some circumstances which allow a council to withhold self-directed support. If a person is assessed as not requiring any social care services then they cannot receive self-directed support. A small number of individuals may also be excluded because, for example, they are subject to certain criminal justice orders. Your social worker will be able to tell you whether your circumstances exclude you from self-directed support.


A council may also may not allow you to purchase services from your preferred provider if they believe the provider will not meet your health and social care needs.


In the case of direct payments a council may withhold payment if they suspect the recipient of financial mismanagement.


Currently, the council may also withhold a direct payment if the person is unable to consent (due to mental incapacity) to having a direct payment and they do not have a guardian or attorney in place who can consent on their behalf.


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