Direct Payments

What are direct payments?

If you have an assessment from Norfolk County Council Adult Social Services or Children’s Services and they decide you need support, you will be offered services provided directly by Norfolk County Council, or instead be given the money to arrange and buy your own support in the form of direct payments. People receiving direct payments take responsibility for choosing and providing their own support services. You don’t have to choose direct payments for all of your support. Some people prefer to start with a small amount of their care met with direct payments and increase it as they gain confidence.

Why should I use direct payments?

Direct payments can enable you to live independently. Independent living is about having more choice, control and responsibility over your life. It is about getting the most out of all areas of life. Choosing direct payments means you take both control and responsibility for your support arrangements. This gives you more freedom to meet your assessed needs in the way that is best for you. Some people use direct payments to employ personal assistants or care workers. You can choose who works for you and when the work is done.


Alice needs support to get out of bed in the morning and ready for the day ahead. The agency arranged by Norfolk County Council can only come at 8 o’clock but Alice would prefer to get up later. Alice uses direct payments to employ someone to come at a time that suits her and fits in with her life.

What can direct payments be used for?

Direct payments can be used for:

  • Care in the home, such as personal care
  • Supported or daytime activities
  • Short breaks or respite care
  • Equipment

You cannot use direct payments for:

  • Buying services from Norfolk County Council
  • Buying long-term residential care

How do I get direct payments?

If you have not yet had an assessment from Norfolk County Council (Adult Social Services or Children’s Services) you can contact them on 0344 800 8020. If you have had an assessment and would like to consider direct payments further, you can speak to your care assessor or an adviser at Equal Lives.

What support is available?

Taking responsibility for managing your own services can seem a little daunting, but you’re not on your own. Equal Lives or an accredited provider can support you:

  • to arrange care or support for yourself
  • to arrange care or support for your disabled child
  • to find personal assistants or care workers
  • to keep records
  • to be a good employer
  • to work out the money you need to pay your workers via our payroll service
  • by offering a supported accounts service that can hold the direct payment in a bank account on your behalf

How do I get more information?

For more information please contact Equal Lives and one of our advisers will be happy to talk to you.

Guidance on managing things yourself

You can download our factsheets on running your own payroll and also regarding who will receive direct payment money if you would like to manage things yourself.

Children’s Direct Payments

We have created factsheets you may find useful for Children’s Direct Payments including a guide to direct payments, employing with direct payments and using a service provider or self employer workers.

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