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Personal budgets and direct payments

Direct payments and personal budgets are money we provide you to meet your child or young person’s assessed social care needs.

Personal budgets

Some people have personal budgets for health provision, called Personal Health Budgets, and for Social Care provision, for example for Short Breaks. They may have managed some or all this budget directly themselves using a direct payment.

Special Educational Needs personal budgets

This is money identified to pay for support written in an Education, Health and Care plan for a child / young person with SEND. It can include money from the local authority for education and social care, and from the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for health.

Find out more about personal budgets and Education, Health and Care plans.

The difference between a personal budget and a direct payment

A personal budget shows what money there is to provide some of the support/service written in an EHC plan, and who provides it. The parent or young person does not actually manage the money directly. Having a personal budget means you know how much money you can spend. 

A personal budget can include a direct payment if it's agreed that this is the best way to manage part of the personal budget.

With a direct payment the parent or young person is given the money for some services and manages the money themselves. The parent or young person is responsible for buying the support or service and paying for it.

Advice and support with direct payments

Having a direct payment is one way of taking your personal budget, but it isn’t the only way and you don’t have to do it on your own.

It is also possible to have a third-party arrangement to manage a direct payment.

Your local authority or Clinical Commissioning Group must explain these options to you and advise what you can spend your personal budget on. They must also tell you about the local organisations that can help and advise you.

For example, SENDIASS Citizens Advice Waltham Forest or Waltham Forest Parent Forum may be able to help.

Read Making it Personal: A Family Guide to Personal Budgets and EHC plans.

Continuing healthcare and personal budgets

If you are eligible for continuing care, you can request a Personal Health Budget. See the continuing healthcare section on the NHS website for more details.

For free independent advice on NHS continuing healthcare, visit the Beacon website or call the helpline on: 0345 548 0300.