Coronavirus: advice if you use direct payments for social care


What are direct payments?

A direct payment is money that social services or your NHS clinical commissioning group (CCG) can give to you to pay for the care that you need.

Direct payments were created to give you more flexibility about the social care support that you want and need. You can choose what services you want instead of letting your social services arrange services for you.

You can get more information about direct payments by clicking here

This guidance is for anyone who receives direct payments to pay for their social care.

I use my direct payments to pay for a personal assistant. What do I need to know?

You may use your direct payments to pay for a personal assistant. If you pay for a personal assistant, you are classed as an employer. If you use your direct payment to pay for an agency worker or someone who is self-employed, you aren’t an employer.

If you are classed as an employer this means that you have certain legal responsibilities. Employers have additional responsibilities due to the coronavirus pandemic. Such as making sure workplaces are in line with rules around Covid-19 to make them safe. So, it is important that you know what your responsibilities are.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic and the need for social distancing, the way your personal assistant supports you might change. This is to reduce the risk of the spread of coronavirus. Also, they might not be able to support you if, for example, they have symptoms of coronavirus. The government advice explains more about these things.

The latest government guidance for people who receive direct payments can be found here

From the link you can get:

• the full guidance,
• an easy read version, and
• shorter guidance on the most important things you need to know.

Personal assistants and carers can still leave their homes to visit you if:

• the care and support they need to give you can only be done face-to-face,
• you are a vulnerable person, and
• your home is covid secure.

Please see the government guidance for further information. The guidance covers:

• the flexible use of direct payments during the pandemic,
• continuation of direct payments,
• personal protective equipment,
• employment of people, including personal assistants,
• the coronavirus job retention scheme,
• statutory sick pay for PAs with Covid-19 symptoms,
• testing,
• monitoring requirements,
• self-funders, and
• keeping safe.

Where can I get further advice?

The Department of Health and Social Care has published further advice on the Skills for Care website. You can read the advice here.

This blog will be updated if more information becomes available. Last updated 13.11.20

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