Personal budgets explained for adults

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is the amount of money that has been agreed by the Council to meet your eligible care or support needs following a needs assessment under the Care Act.

Visit the UK Government website for information on the Care Act.

How to get a personal budget
  • If you need some extra help and support you first need to ask for a needs assessment
  • If you look after or care for a friend or family member who is over 18 years old and who needs extra support you first need to ask for a carers assessment from the Adult Social Care Team. 
  • If you have a child who has an education health and care plan you can ask for a personal budget from the Children with Disabilities Team.
What I can use my personal budget for?

You can use your personal budget in different ways and for lots of different things as long as they help you meet the needs set out in your assessment.

You can use it to:

  • Pay for your personal care and support from a care agency
  • Take up new activities or hobbies
  • Learn new skills
  • Employ a personal assistant who can help you with all kinds of thing e.g. personal care & support, cooking, cleaning, helping you to get out and about
  • Take a break from your caring role
How can personal budgets be managed?

There are four ways you can choose to use and manage your personal budget.

  1. As a Direct Payment (DP) – the council pays some or all of your entire personal budget funding into your Direct Payment account. You use the direct payment to buy your own support.
  2. As a Council managed service – the council will manage your budget and will commission services on your behalf.
  3. As an Individual Service Fund (ISF) – the council pays an organization that provides support services and will follow your instructions in getting the services you need. The organization will be answerable to you. You will have a say about how the services are provided to you. This can be called a Third-Party arrangement.
  4. A combination of the above
Will I have to contribute financially?

We will carry out a financial assessment and depending on your income and savings, you may have to make a financial contribution to your social care support. We will let you know the maximum you will have to pay, this is your Customer Contribution.

What happens if I want to use a more expensive option?

If you want to use an option that costs more than your personal budget (where there are not options available within your budget), you will need to pay the extra cost.

Changing and reviewing my care and support

You can make changes to your care and support

  • For small changes e.g. changing the times you receive support or take part in activities you probably won't need our approval
  • For larger changes e.g. choosing different activities or stopping a service you will need to tell your social worker
  • If your needs have changed e.g. you need more help or something happens to someone who supports you, you will need to contact us so we can review your needs
How do I receive my Direct Payment?

Direct Payment is either paid on a monthly basis in advance or a one-off payment for the year (one off payments are usually for small amounts only).

We will open an account with a banking service called Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) for you. You will be issued with a pre-payment debit card and bank account details, and you are able to use this card as you would a normal debit card e.g. the account also has an online banking facility for you to set up direct debits and make online payments.

Useful contact details

Intergrated Health and Social Care Hub (Adult Social Care)

Tel: 0300 365 1234

Brokerage and Professional Support

Tel: 0118 974 6832

Sensory Needs Service

Tel: 0118 974 6896

Children with Disabilities Team

Tel: 0118 974 6881

Financial Assessments Team

Tel: 0118 974 6000 - select option 6 and ask for the Financial Assessment Team


Find services to help meet your needs

Search the directory to find service to help meet your eligible unmet needs and outcomes set out in your assessment:

Related Services

  1. Adult Social Care
  2. Children with Disabilities Team
  3. Brokerage and Professional Support
  4. Sensory Needs Service

External Links

  1. Paying for care and support
  2. Help with Learning


Page last reviewed: 04/08/2023

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