January 27, 2004
Multiple Sclerosis Society
People who are eligible for direct payments - cash in lieu of social services - can use them to pay close relatives who don't live in their household to provide them with care, the Department of Health has clarified.
"Some councils say they are confused over the rules governing how individuals can use their direct payments to pay close relatives," said Health Minister Stephen Ladyman. "We're reminding councils that there is no legal restriction on individuals using their direct payment to pay close relatives who don't live with them.
"In exceptional circumstances, people can also use their direct payment to pay a relative who lives with them, if they and their local council decide this is the only satisfactory way of meeting their care needs.
"Through direct payments, people are gaining control and independence over their lives as they have the power to decide whether they want a relative, social services or someone else to provide them with the care they need," said Mr Ladyman.
"Since the law was changed to make it a duty for councils to make direct payments to people, not just offer them, 9,600 people have received direct payments. This represents an increase of 53 per cent since 2001/02. Within that total, the number of older people receiving direct payments demonstrates that our decision not to fund personal care but fund alternative services for older people is also working."
Regulations and guidance on direct payments can be found at http://www.doh.gov.uk/directpayments
Copyright © 2004, Multiple Sclerosis Society