Help paying for care and support at home

Arranging and paying: personal budgets and direct payments

Find out how your personal budget is spent. See how billing works and how you can arrange support yourself with a direct payment.

Your personal budget

Your financial assessment and need assessment will decide how much it should cost to get the right care and support to meet your needs. This money is called your personal budget.

Using your personal budget

There are three ways your personal budget can be used. You can choose whether:

  1. we arrange all of your care
  2. you arrange all of your care with help from a direct payment
  3. you have a mixed personal budget – we split the budget so that we arrange some of your care and you arrange the rest

If we arrange your care

Even when we arrange all of your care, we will still give you choices for how your personal budget is spent.

How your bills are worked out

Unless your assessment shows you do not have to pay anything, we will send you bills for the services set out in your care and support plan. These are the services arranged by your social worker and agreed by you. 

Your charges will be worked out from the date your care and support services started. And we will only bill you for the amount your assessment shows you can afford to pay. 

If you cancel your services by choice, you will still be charged for them. This is because the council has already paid for those services to meet your needs. For example, if you are assessed as needing to go to a day centre 3 times a week, but on one day you decide not to go, you will still be charged for 3 day's attendance. Similarly, if you have a home care service but you are out when the carers are due (whether planned or not), or you send carers away, you will still be charged. 

If you were unable to have your services for an unforeseen reason such as being in hospital, you must tell us straightaway and we will adjust your next bill. It is best to tell us as soon as possible if you go into hospital. 

You will always be billed for the level of service set out in your Care and Support Plan up to the amount you are assessed as being able to afford. 

If you decide you are happy that services take less time than originally planned, you must ring Adult Social Care on 0113 222 4401 and ask for your Care and Support Plan to be reviewed. Once your Care and Support Plan is changed, your bills will also change. 

If you decide you no longer need the services arranged for you, you must ring Adult Social Care on 0113 222 4401 to ask for a review. 

You will still be charged for your services until a social worker decides to change or amend your care and support plan.  

You should pay any bill you have received as usual. If a refund is due, it will be applied to your next bill. 

For questions about your bill, you can contact the billing team

When you will be billed

Your first bill may take some time to arrive because we have to wait for the people who provide your services to tell us exactly how much care you have received. 

Make sure you put the money aside to pay your bills when they arrive. 

After your first bill, you should then get regular bills every four weeks. If your weekly costs are very small, your bills might be more spaced out. 

If you do not pay the bill for your care and support, we will contact you. If you still do not to pay, it may result in legal proceedings against you. 

Ways to pay will be explained on the back of your bill, including how to pay online.

If you arrange your care with direct payments

You can arrange and pay for your own care with the help of direct payments from the council.

If you're interested in having direct payments, contact your social worker or speak to adult social care to see if it's right for you.

How it works

  1. You open a dedicated bank account just for your direct payments. The account must be in your name, or in the name of your helper.
  2. Once a week, you pay in the amount that your financial assessment shows you can afford, if any. This money will be used up first when you pay for your care.
  3. Every four weeks, the council makes a direct payment into this account to make sure you have enough to pay for your care.

Help managing your money

If you need extra help to manage your money, you can ask for a managed bank account where someone else looks after the money for you. You’ll still get to decide how you spend the money.

Spending your money

It's important to spend the money carefully. You must make sure that you meet all the needs that are in the care plan you make with your social worker. They can help you make decisions and answer your questions.

You’ll need to sign a Direct Payment Agreement, which explains the rules about how you can spend it.

Keep all of your receipts and paperwork in a safe place.

If it's in your plan, you could spend it on:

  • a personal assistant
  • support from a care agency
  • respite care at home or in a care home
  • transport
Respite care

If it is in your care plan, you can use the money for respite care. 

You should make sure you only use it to pay for the number of days or weeks of respite it says in your care plan. 

You can choose more expensive respite than your plan says, but you will have to pay the extra cost with your own money. 

Personal assistants

You might use the money to employ a personal assistant. 

You can advertise for an assistant who is right for you and can do the things you need help with. 

You could ask them to help with:

  • getting dressed and washed
  • making meals
  • taking your medication
  • tidying up your home
  • helping with work or education
  • using transport and getting about
  • going out, such as shopping or doing social activities

Get more information and advice from the employing personal assistants toolkit on Skills For CareExternal link.  

You can advertise for an assistant through Leeds Centre for Integrated LivingExternal link

You cannot spend it on:

  • living costs like food, gas, electricity, water bills, council tax, rent
  • household repairs
  • general furniture and household electrical items
  • alcohol or tobacco products
  • gambling
  • debt repayment
  • funeral expenses
  • goods or services that are the responsibility of the NHS

Checking your spending

A social worker will check in with you in the first 6 to 8 weeks of your direct payments. They'll review your care plan and make sure it is working well for you.

Someone from the finance team will also check how you are spending your money to make sure there are no problems.

This is called an audit. They will contact you 3 months after your first direct payment. After that, audits happen once a year.

In an audit, they will ask to see receipts and paperwork for everything you have bought using the money in your direct payment bank account.

You should either deliver this in person or send it by post ‘Signed For’ to:

Direct Payments Audit Team
Adults and Health Operational Services
Leeds City Council
5th Floor East
Merrion House
110 Merrion Centre

When they have looked at your paperwork, they will send you an explanation of how they have checked your direct payment.

Contact us

Billing team

For questions about your bill.

Phone: 0113 378 8563
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm

Direct payment audit team

For questions about a direct payment audit.

Phone: 0113 37 88 556
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm

Financial assessment team

For general questions about getting help to pay for care.

Phone: 0113 378 8251
Monday to Friday, 9am to 4:30pm

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