Helping you understand Welsh law

Direct Payments

Direct payments are monetary amounts made available by local authorities to individuals, or their representative, to enable them to meet their care and support needs; or in the case of a carer, their support needs.

Direct payments replace care and support provided directly, or commissioned by, a local authority. They can be for all, or part, of a person’s care and support needs. 

Under regulations made under sections 50 to 52 of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (SSWA 2014) local authorities have powers to provide direct payments to meet the care and support needs of an adult, to meet the care and support needs of a child and to meet the support needs of a carer.

Direct payments to meet an adult’s needs

An adult with capacity must consent to receiving payments instead of services. Where a person does not have capacity then consent to the making of direct payments can be given in a number of ways. If there is a person authorised under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 then that person can consent, as the recipient of the payments, or can consent to the payments being made to another person who must also consent. If there is no-one authorised under the 2005 Act then a person willing to be the recipient of the payments can give consent so long as the other relevant conditions of this section are met.

In the case of an adult with capacity or without capacity, payments can be made if the recipient of the payment might not be able to manage the payment him or herself but is capable of doing so with support which is available. In both cases there is a need for a local authority to be satisfied that making the payments is an appropriate way of meeting the adult's care needs. Additionally, where the adult does not have capacity the local authority must be satisfied that the recipient of the payment will act in the adult's best interests.

Direct payments to meet a child's needs

Payments can be made to a person with parental responsibility for a child who has needs for care and support, or to the child who has needs for care and support.

The person to whom the payments are to be made must consent to the making of the payments. Where the direct payments are being made to an adult or a child aged 16 or 17, the local authority must believe the person who is to receive the payments has the capacity to consent to the making of the payments. Where the person is a child under the age of 16, the local authority must be satisfied they have sufficient understanding to make an informed choice about receiving direct payments.

In all cases the local authority must be satisfied that making the payments is an appropriate way of meeting the child's needs, that the well-being of the child will be safeguarded and promoted by the making of the payments and that the person who is to receive the payments is capable of managing them by him or herself or with support.

Direct payments to meet a carer's needs

Direct payments can be made to meet the support needs of a carer. The direct payments must be made to the carer himself or herself, who must consent to the making of the payments. Where the carer is an adult, or a child aged 16 or 17 the local authority must believe he or she has the capacity to consent to the making of the payments. Where the carer is a child aged under 16 the local authority must be satisfied that they have sufficient understanding to make an informed choice about receiving direct payments.

In all cases the local authority must be satisfied that making the payments is an appropriate way of meeting the carer's needs and that the carer is capable of managing the payments, whether by him or herself, or with support.

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