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Working on a budget and options for using SDS


What is self-directed support?


Self-directed support (SDS) allows people to choose how their support is provided to them by giving them as much ongoing control as they want over the individual budget spent on their support.


In other words, SDS is the support a person purchases or arranges to meet agreed health and social care outcomes.


When considering how to manage their SDS budget, an individual can choose from four options:


Option 1: Taken as a Direct Payment (a cash payment)


Option 2: Allocated to a provider the person chooses (sometimes called an individual service fund, where the council holds the budget but the person is in charge of how it is spent)


Option 3: Or the council can arrange a service for the supported person


Option 4: Or the supported person can choose a mix of these options for different types of support.


Currently councils are only required to offer the first option (a Direct Payment) but many councils in Scotland offer all the options.


The Scottish Government is currently working on a Self-directed Support Bill which if enacted will place a duty on councils to offer all four options.


What can you use SDS for?


Self-Directed Support can be used in many ways. You can get support to live in your own home, such as help with having a bath or getting washed and dressed.


Out of the home it could support you to college, to continue in employment or take a job, or to enjoy leisure pursuits more. Instead of relying on the activities run at a day centre, you might arrange for a personal assistant (PA) to help you attend local classes, go swimming, or be a volunteer helping others. It could also be used to provide a short break (respite) or for equipment and temporary adaptations.


You can choose whether you would prefer to get support from a service provider such as a voluntary organisation or care agency, or by employing PAs, or a combination of both.


It is also to note that an individual does not necessarily have to buy in support services with their SDS budget. They can use some of their budget to assist them in taking part in activities that they enjoy and may benefit themselves and family members:


Case study 1: A service user with an SDS budget preferred to go to football on a Saturday with the friends he had been going with for many years and didn't want this to change as a result of his disability. However they felt that a support worker would not necessarily fit in with the group. Therefore the service user decided to use some of his SDS budget to purchase a season ticket so that his friend could support him to the football.


Case study 2: A service user enjoyed going to the family caravan on holiday and took the decision to use some of their SDS budget to pay for the caravan fees. This allowed both the service user and their family to enjoy a holiday together as opposed to buying in a service and using the support of a support worker to go on holiday.


Case study 3: A service user enjoyed art and chose to spend some of their SDS budget on art equipment because this was an activity that they enjoyed and preferred to do so in their chosen environment instead of employing a support service to assist them in attending art classes.


Who can access SDS?

In Scotland, under the current law, people can have a direct payment where they are assessed as needing a community care service. There are a few exclusions. People who are eligible for support, for their social care or health and social care, can direct their own support. There are some limited circumstances where SDS and your council will be able to tell you about these.


“But SDS is only for disabled adults”

It isn't. Children in need of support, older people – people who need social support – can access SDS.


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