If you or your child have been assessed as needing care and support services, direct payments may be an option for you. You can talk this over with your social worker who will be able to provide you with more information.
Direct payments allows you to have more choice and control over your life by enabling you to make decisions about how your care is delivered.
Direct payments and prepaid cards
Direct payments can be paid either into a traditional bank account or as a prepaid card.
Staffordshire County Council is extending the range of services available to Direct Payment users, through offering all Direct Payment recipients a prepaid card as the preferred option of managing their Direct Payment, though you do not have to have a card if you would prefer to use a traditional bank account.
A prepaid card account is just like a current account from your bank with a debit card. You can use it to pay for services which are agreed and detailed in your care plan.
What are the benefits of using a prepaid card?
- you don’t need to set up a separate bank account.
- you don’t need a credit rating.
- you don’t need a cheque book.
- it is a secure and easy way to make payments for your care
- you have immediate and easy access to funds and balances
- you will receive support to transfer to the new prepaid account
- you can use a smart phone, tablet or computer to access your account
Where can I find more information?
Frequently asked questions - Children's Direct Payments
What isn't changing?
What you spend the Direct Payment on. All of this remains the same in line with your child’s care plan.
You are still required to retain appropriate records of expenditure from the direct account including invoices, receipts, pay slips, etc for a minimum of 7 years.
What is changing?
The current claim system to reclaim expenditure from your direct payment account. Instead of making claims you will receive a regularly, 2 weekly payment into your account.
This will be calculated based on the total number of assessed hours per week multiplied by current hourly rate.
You will receive a remittance advise every 2 weeks advising of the payment into your direct payment account.
Your current 11 week float will reduce down to a 4 week float. This won’t happen immediately and you will receive notification when it does.
When will the change happen?
The regular payments will start from 11/10/2023 for the 2 week period 24/09/2023 to 07/10/2023.
What if I have expenditure to claim?
We recommend you submit regular claims to get your account up to date as soon as possible. The date to submit final claims for expenditure up to 23/09/2023 is 22/10/2023.
What if I don’t spend my Direct Payment on a weekly basis?
Don’t worry. Money will build up in your account, and this can continue to be spent at the frequency as agreed in your child’s care plan.
Employing a personal assistant
You will now receive higher amount per hour into your direct payment account to fund your personal assistant hours and all associated costs involved with employing a PA. This isn’t to be passed on in its entirety to the PA. To calculate what you can afford to pay your PA from the hourly rate we fund please use our PA calculator or contact your payroll provider.
The higher amount that you will receive into your direct payment account will cover:
- employee tax and national insurance contributions (unless your employee is earning below the personal allowance tax threshold. However, please note that you will still need to register your PA with HMRC)
- holiday pay (each staff member is legally entitled to 5.6 weeks per year, which the direct payment will fund within the hourly rate payable)
- employers’ liability insurance. We allow up to a maximum of £90.00 per year to be paid from the direct payment account for this
- cost of a payroll service unless you are doing your own payroll
You may also have to pay:
- employers’ national insurance contributions. This applies when your employee is earning above a certain amount
- workplace pension contributions, if applicable
- statutory sick pay, this depends on eligibility
- training costs. We may be able to make additional one off payments where necessary. This will need to be approved by your allocated practitioner
- cost of materials such as gloves or aprons
- if, after being in post for 2 years or more, your child’s circumstances change you may have to withdraw the personal assistant role. You would have to give them a statutory redundancy package
What if my Employers Liability Insurance is due in the next couple of weeks/months?
This can be paid from your float in your account. In subsequent years the renewal cost should be building up from the PA rate that is paid. You must ensure that you renew your employers liability insurance every year if you continue to employ a PA.
The balance on my account is increasing
If you employ a PA this will happen as we pay in at a higher rate than you are paying out in regard to PA wages and any necessary Tax and NI contributions. See section employing a PA that details what you can pay from the PA funds.
If you only use the direct payment during school holidays, then you will see funds building up in the account whilst you aren’t using them. Once you do spend, in line with your child’s care plan, the balance will decrease again.
What if my child’s circumstances change?
Your child’s care plan will be reviewed regularly by your social worker. However if circumstances do change please do not hesitate to contact them for a discussion and possible early review.
Direct Payment account monitoring
Adults and Children’s Financial Services will be regularly monitoring the Direct Payment accounts to ensure accounts are managed correctly and that money is spent in line with your child’s care plan.
If you are on a P card we can review the account balance and transactions centrally. We will contact you to request evidence of the expenditure if required.
If you don’t utilise a P card then we will be contacting you to request copy bank statements for the Direct Payment account and evidence of expenditure.
Your social worker will also carry out reviews of the expenditure when they carry out their review of your child’s care plan.
If you’d like some more information on the Direct Payment changes, please contact Staffordshire Cares on 0300 111 8010, Textphone/Minicom users: 01785 276207 or by email at email@example.com.