Optalis - Choices for living

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0118 977 8600

Windsor & Maidenhead Advice Line
01628 683744

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Self directed support and personal budgets

Self directed support is about being able to choose and manage the support you need to live your everyday life in as fulfilling a way as possible.

If you qualify for support from Adult Services you may be allocated an amount of money, called a personal budget to spend on your care and support in the community. This will mean:

  • Greater independence
  • Being in control of your own care and support, whatever your level of need
  • Choosing who looks after your Personal Budget and who arranges your care

For some people long term residential care or nursing homes may be the most appropriate service. If this is the best option for you, we will assess your needs and help plan and arrange your support as appropriate. We do not allocate personal budgets for long term residential or nursing care but you will have choice and control over your services.

There are seven steps involved in directing your own support.

Self directed support and personal budgets

Step 1: Am I eligible?

If you contact Adult Services about your care and support needs you will be given information and advice so that you can make informed choices.

To contact Adult Services for information, advice, an assessment or to report suspected abuse of a vulnerable adult, please complete our contact form or call the Advice and Information Team on 01628 683744 during office hours.

In order to decide whether the Royal Borough should assist you with your care needs we have eligibility criteria. Since April 2015 the Royal Borough have been using the national eligibility criteria for access to adult care and support and for access to carer support.

If you have eligible needs, we will check that you normally live in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Step 2: Assessing my Needs?

If you contact Adult Services, or are referred to us, because you believe you have care and support needs or you are a carer with support needs you may be offered an assessment to help us understand how much support you need.

If you have a carer, the assessment will also ensure that they are included and their needs are taken into consideration. If you need someone to help you say what you want to say you can request an advocate.

Step 3: How much money can I expect?

The result of your assessment tells you how much we estimate your care and support services to cost. You will be asked to complete a financial assessment which will tell us whether:

you will be required to fund all of your support, or
you will be required to make a financial contribution towards your support, which will be 'topped up' by the Royal Borough, or
you will receive full financial support from the Royal Borough

Your personal budget is made up of the contribution you are assessed to pay and the top up' the council will pay based on the results of your assessments if your assessed contribution is unable to meet your needs. This is the total amount of money that is to be spent on your care and support.

More information can be found on our web page Paying for My Care and Support.

Contributions for people living in care homes are calculated differently and you can find information about that in our leaflet Choosing and Paying for Care in a Care Home.

If you are not eligible for financial assistance you can view the Adults, Family and Local Offer Directory for information on local services, equipment, activities and schemes that could help you. You can contact My Care, My Home, an organisation that provides advice and support to anyone who has to pay for part or all of their care themselves..

Step 4: Planning my support

At this stage you will need to make a support plan.

Your support plan must clearly show:

what support you need (such as help with washing or dressing or getting out in the community)
what services or activities you intend to spend your personal budget on to meet these needs and your agreed outcomes
what plans you have for an emergency (for example your carer being ill)
how you will manage any risks and what plans to put in place for emergencies.

We will make sure you are given the right information and advice to be able to make these decisions about your care. Browse the Adults, Family and Local Offer Directory for information on local services, equipment, activities and schemes, including those that are provided free of charge from the Royal Borough or voluntary organisations.

Getting my plan agreed

We have to agree your support plan with you before you receive your personal budget, because we need to ensure your plans will achieve your agreed outcomes.

You will be expected to read and sign a Personal Budget Agreement, which is a contract between you and us and sets out what the money can and can't be spent on. If you have chosen a direct payment you can then start to organise your own support and services.

Step 5: Managing my money (my personal budget)

When your plan has been agreed, you will receive your personal budget.

There are three ways to manage your personal budget, dependent upon a risk assessment carried out by the member of Adult Services staff who met with you:

take the whole personal budget as a direct payment so you or someone else on your behalf can organise the support
ask the council to arrange the care / support on your behalf and to pay for it directly (A council-managed personal budget)
have a combination of both - take part of the personal budget as a direct payment and ask the council to manage the rest for you.

For example you can choose to employ your own personal assistant through direct payments, but have the council arrange and pay for other services on your behalf.

Taking your personal budget as a direct payment means you have control over how the money is spent. It means that you have flexibility, choice and control over the support you need to help you do things. You will need to tell us how you are spending your money and keep basic records.

If you choose to take some or all of your personal budget as a direct payment you can either manage the money yourself or, if you are not able or willing to do this you can choose someone else to look after the money, such as:

A friend / relative
A Trust - a group of people that the law says can look after your money for you
A service provider / organisation that will keep your money and use it just for you (An Individual Service Fund).

The Mental Capacity Act says that some people need a Deputy or Attorney to administer their money. You can find out more about this from the Office of the Public Guardian by calling 0845 330 2900 or visiting their website http://www.publicguardian.gov.uk.

Click on the link for information on independent financial advice.

Step 6: Arranging my support

This is when you organise the support you have chosen.

You can choose someone to help you organise all or some of your support.

People who may help are:

A friend or relative
A Trust - a group of people that the law says can look after your money for you
A service provider or organisation (a group of people who run services) that will keep your money and use it just for you. This is called an Individual Service Fund.

Step 7: Is it working for me?

A member of Adult Services staff will meet with you to see how your plan is working, how you are spending the money and if you are meeting your agreed outcomes. You can also ask for a review at any time.

You may want to contact Adult Services if:

there are any problems or issues with your support
you are no longer able to manage the financial arrangements of your care
you are no longer able to manage the practical aspects of your care
you have an unpaid Carer who is unable to continue to provide you with the same level of support.

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