Direct Payments: Do Bellcare accept them, what are they and who is eligible?

Bellcare accepts Direct Payments and have a lot of experience with this method for individuals who are managing their own care and support requirements.

We can help and advise you along the way if you need it but, ultimately we will just be there for you, because it's your life and your care. You will be able to decide which of your services you require for your lifestyle and manage your care and support according to your needs and wishes.

We have provided you with some information to help you make the decision that is the right one for you, but if you or your family wish to have an informal chat, just let us know, we could come to you or you could come and see us, it’s your choice. We recognise this is a ‘big’ decision to make so we will be there to help you if we can.

What are Direct Payments?

Direct payments are local council payments for individuals who would like to arrange and pay for their own care and support services instead of receiving them directly from Cumbria County Council. If you think you need care or support services, Cumbria County Council's Adult Social Care service will carry out an assessment of your needs.

Once the assessment has been carried out, there are three ways in which the services you need can be arranged:

  • Cumbria County Council can give you a Direct Payment so you can arrange your own services in the way in which you prefer; or
  • Cumbria County Council we can arrange the services for you; or a combination of the two.

For example, you can use the Direct Payment to:

  • Pay Bellcare to provide you directly with services;
  • Employ your own staff;
  • Design your own service that fits your choices and needs;
  • Buy equipment that better fits your lifestyle;
  • Arrange your own respite care to offer you or your carer a break; or
  • A combination of any of these.

However, there are some rules. You must spend your Direct Payment on things that your assessment shows that you need. You can never use your Direct Payment to buy:

  • Services from the local authority
  • Long term residential care; or
  • Anything that does not meet your agreed needs.

Who is eligible?

If you already receive social services, Cumbria County Council is obliged to offer you the option of direct payments in place of the services you currently receive. (There are some limited circumstances where you are not given this choice and the council will be able to tell you about these.)

If you're not receiving social services, to get direct payments you'll need to contact your local council to ask them to assess your needs. Social services (and therefore direct payments) are normally available if you are:

  • An older person
  • Disabled and aged 16 or over
  • A parent or carer aged 16 or over (including people with parental responsibility for a disabled child)
  • Effect on other benefits

Direct payments are not a replacement of income and therefore do not affect any other benefits you may be getting.

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