What is a Direct Payment?

A Direct Payment is a sum of money that you may be entitled to from Kent County Council (KCC) that enables you to be in control of who provides your or your child’s care needs instead of this being arranged for you by the Local Authority. A Direct Payment often provides a far greater level of choice, control, and flexibility for families. It allows parents or the young person to decide what care and support they receive and how and when they receive it.

Who is entitled to a Direct Payment?

  • A parent of a disabled child
  • A disabled young person aged 16 to 25 years
  • A young carer aged 16 to 17 years

What can a Direct Payment be used for?

You can use your Direct Payment to buy the support that you need, as assessed in your child’s care and support plan or provisions detailed in your child’s Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).

You could use a Social Care Direct Payment flexibly to meet the assessed needs identified by your social worker, for example:

• To access short breaks to provide respite for the whole family
• Employ a personal assistant or agency to provide support with your child’s care
• To help your child access leisure facilities or attend a particular activity
• To buy specific equipment for your child

If you have any questions regarding what you can use your Direct Payment for, please contact us. E: directpayment@wearebeams.org.uk

What should a Direct Payment NOT be used for?

You cannot do the following with your Direct Payment:

• Employ a relative who lives in your house (except under exceptional circumstances)
• Buy services from, or services subsidised by the Local Authority, Health Authority or Housing Authority.
• Purchase long-term residential care

How to receive a Direct Payment

To be eligible for a Social Care Direct Payment, you must have a core assessment carried out, and an assessment of the need agreed by a professional. If you have NOT received an assessment, please call Kent County Council’s Contact and Assessment Service (KCAS) on 03000 411 111 and ask to speak to the Children with Disabilities Assessment Team.

Alternatively, visit the KCC website. It is not uncommon for families to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of an assessment. For support and advice regarding how best to prepare for an assessment, have a look at the information provided on Contact. If you undertake an assessment and are found to be eligible to receive support, speak to your Social Worker about exploring the option of a Direct Payment.

If your Social Worker agrees that a Direct Payment may meet the needs of your child, you will be required to sign a DP Agreement and then your Social Worker will refer you to Beams Direct Payment Service. You will be allocated a dedicated DP Case Worker who will explain the Direct Payment process and provide you with the appropriate support and information you require to set up your choice of support. Our DP Case Worker will work with you to ensure you are fully aware of what using a Direct Payment entails and, if you decide to go ahead, that the process is as simple as possible.

To receive an Education Direct Payment, there must be a EHC Plan that outlines the support your child needs. You can request that the agreed personal budget, as outlined in the plan, is available as a Direct Payment. You will need to sign a KCC Direct Payment Agreement before you are then referred to the Beams Direct Payment Service for our support to arrange your Direct Payment. KCC will usually pay the required money into a managed account service for you to access the funding for the identified needs.

Useful independent information is available from IPSEA to help parents understand EHC Plans, and how the identified support can be made available.

If you would like more information about Education or Social Care Direct Payments, or would prefer to speak to someone directly then please do not hesitate to contact us.
T: 01322 669245
E: directpayment@wearebeams.org.uk

Setting up your Direct Payment

Your DP Case Worker will discuss the various options with you ie, employing a Personal Assistant (PA), appointing an agency, accessing a club or activity, access respite opportunities, etc.

Becoming an Employer

Your DP Case Worker will support you to:

a. Decide what you need your PA to do and prepare a job description.

b. Support you to find a PA. If you do not have someone in mind, your DP Caseworker can provide advice on advertising, and accessing Beams PA Register.  Please note the PA Register is not vetted by the DP Support Service and not all PAs will have a current DBS.  Beams will DBS check any PA you choose but it is your responsibility to check the PA has the skills you require and that you follow safe recruitment practice. To apply for the PA register contact us on directpayment@wearebeams.org.uk

c. Send, receive, and collate application forms, recruitment packs.  Your DP Case Worker can advise around preparation for interviewing and safe recruitment practices including interview tips.

d. Complete Right to Work Checks. It is your legal duty to check your PA is entitled to work in the UK before they start working. Speak to your DP Case Worker.  Alternatively phone the UK Border Agency Employer Checking Service helpline on Tel: 03300 1234699. Click here for guidance 

e. Complete an Enhanced DBS check on all potential employees. It may be possible to accept a current DBS if it is under 18 months old, or registered on the DBS Update Service.  Please speak to your Case Worker for more information.  If your PA requires a new DBS, please complete and return the DBS form to your DP Case Worker. Click here for a DBS Application .

f. Provide template employment documents; such as employment contract and General Data Protection Paperwork (GDPR)

g. Provide information relating to general employment responsibilities, employee pension rights, out of pocket expenses, motor insurance, etc

h. Provide information on a choice of Insurance companies – All employers must have statutory employers and public liability insurance in place by the time your employee starts work. Your Case Worker will provide you with a choice of providers

i. Provide information on a choice of payroll companies that will calculate your employee’s pay, tax, N.I. and a pension for you. The Case Worker will provide you with a choice of providers.

j. Be a good employer.  Your Case Worker can advise you in relation to training, induction, probation periods, supervision and record keeping.

k. Understand Self-employed PA’s – It is rare that a PA is classed as self-employed.   Any potential self-employed PA will be required to complete the HMRC Employment Status Checker and will be required to provide written evidence from HMRC that they accept the self-employed status.  We recommend you read the Employment Status Handbook on HMRC website.

l. Identify agencies and other service providers in your area.

m. Employers can seek further information advice from, ACAS, HMRC, Pensions Regulator


Kent Card

Kent Card is KCC’s preferred payment method for Social Care Direct Payments. This is a prepaid card account, into which your DP funding will be paid.  The account operates in the same way as a bank account with payments to your service providers being made either online or via the telephone banking option. Kent Card FAQs