Personal budgets

Find out how to set up a care and support plan, manage a personal budget, and learn about direct payments.

If you have had a care and support assessment from us, we'll tell you if you're eligible for a personal budget.

A personal budget is the money allocated by us to help meet your care and support needs.

We'll help you:

  • set up a care and support plan
  • arrange how to manage your budget

Care and support plan

A care and support plan will cover how you are going to use the money to achieve your goals, live independently and meet your needs.

We'll discuss with you and with the help of a family member or support worker:

  • the types of support and services you'd like to buy
  • how you want to receive your personal budget

Your care and support plan could include things like:

  • how and where you want to live
  • what is working well in your life and what needs improving
  • what choices are available to meet your care needs
  • what assistance you need from other people
  • how you will keep safe and well, both physically and mentally
  • who you might involve in helping you make important decisions
  • how you will manage your support
  • how this support will be met from your personal budget

You can prepare your plan by using the care and support plan template (Word, 54KB).

Managing your personal budget

You have choice and control over how you spend your personal budget. Your options include:

  • help with personal care
  • support to get involved in community activities
  • equipment to help you stay in your home

You also have flexibility over how your personal budget is managed. You can receive direct payments or have your budget managed by the council.

Direct payments

A direct payment means that we pay your personal budget directly to you or someone acting on your behalf. This payment will come from either Suffolk County Council (SCC) or Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

You can only use this payment for goods and services that we have agreed in your care and support plan.

The money is paid every four weeks in advance into a bank or building society account that you have set up only for your direct payment money.

You can use your direct payments to:

  • buy a care service that you can use in your home from an agency
  • employ someone to help you, such as a personal assistant
  • use a home care agency to employ someone for you
  • pay to attend a day care service
  • pay for some respite care services
  • pay for leisure activities
  • buy equipment to help you

You are not able to use your direct payment to pay for:

  • permanent care in a residential or nursing care home
  • ordinary household expenses such as utility bills, rent or mortgage payments or food
  • gambling
  • anything illegal
  • anything that does not contribute to meeting your needs or achieving the outcomes that you have agreed in your care and support plan
  • employing a close family member living in the same household, unless the local authority has agreed this

When you decide that you would like a direct payment, we will ask you to:

  • sign an agreement
  • give us details of the account that you would like us to pay the money into

You'll need to understand the agreement that you are being asked to sign. The person from SCC or NSFT who is helping you to arrange your care should explain these in more detail to you.

You can find more information about managing direct payments in our booklets: