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Types of direct payment account


There are three main options for managing your direct payments. This factsheet explains a bit more about them, so you can choose the right option for you.

April 2023 (FS12)

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Direct payment card account

What is it?

A direct payment card account means that we make payments to clients who want to manage their own direct payments – for example, to pay personal assistant’s wages and care agency bills. It’s secure and can be very convenient. 

How does it work?

If you choose this option, we will open a direct payment card account for you. You’ll get a card through the post which looks a bit like a debit card, and we’ll pay your direct payments into the account every four weeks. If you pay towards the cost of your support, you should pay your client contribution into the account too by setting up a weekly or four-weekly standing order. 

You can use your direct payment card account to pay for your care and support in the same way that you would use a normal bank account. You can make payments online, on the phone, by direct debit, standing order and by chip and PIN. You can also have a trusted person to help you run your account called a direct payment nominee. 

You can check how much is in your direct payment card account at any time, by using internet banking or calling the customer service helpline. 

Things to note:

  • We will be able to see your transactions online, to make sure your direct payments are being used to meet your eligible social care needs (as outlined in your support plan).
  • You won’t be able to withdraw cash. If you need to make cash payments, contact us for advice.
  • If your card is lost or stolen, call the customer service helpline. Your old card will be frozen and a new card will be sent to you.
  • You can only spend the money that’s in your direct payment card account; there’s no overdraft facility.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) managed account

What is it?

If you’re using direct payments only to buy home or day care from an agency, then you may want to choose an ESCC managed account. 

How does it work?

We will pay your direct payments into a special kind of account that the Direct Payment Monitoring Team will manage for you. If you have been assessed as needing to pay towards your care and support, then you will be able to set up a direct debit to make these payments.

The Direct Payments Monitoring Team will let you know if there are any problems with your ESCC managed account. They will send you a statement of your account once a year – or more often if you need it.

Getting us to pay the bills for you doesn’t cost anything. You do lose a bit of day-to-day control over your budget, but some people like this option as it means even less paperwork and hassle for them than a normal direct payment card account. 

Things to note

To have the bills for your care paid, you should ask your chosen care agency to do the following:

  • Email a copy of the four-weekly bill to the Direct Payments Monitoring Team and they will arrange for it to be paid.
  • Send you a copy of the bill so you can check it is correct. If it isn’t right, you will need to contact the monitoring team and let them know.
  • If the agency that you choose has 'real-time telephone monitoring' you should always ask them to produce your bill using this system. Real-time telephone monitoring uses your phone to record the amount of time your agency has worked. It means that bills are created automatically and you will only be charged for the actual hours of care you have received.

Full managed account

What is it?

You may want to use a full managed account service if you’re using direct payments to pay for lots of different services. For example, you might be employing a personal assistant and paying wages, tax bills, insurance, expenses, and other care agency bills. 

If you choose a full managed account service, you will have to pay for it from your direct payment. Your social worker will make sure this cost is included in your weekly direct payment. 

How does it work?

A full managed account service means that you pay a company to manage your direct payments for you. You can choose any reputable provider – your social care worker can help you to find a good company. The guide price for this type of service is £9.95 per week. 

When you have chosen your provider, they will set up your full managed account. We will pay your direct payments into it, and you will pay in your client contribution, if you have one. Your bills are sent directly to the company holding your managed account for payment.  

Things to note

  • The company providing your full managed account will let you know if there are any problems, and should send you a statement of your account on a regular basis.
  • The company will monitor the use of your payments and they’ll share the information with us.
  • A full managed account service doesn’t include a payroll service. So, although a full managed account service will pay wage and tax bills, it won’t calculate the amounts for you.
  • Occasionally, the council might decide that there is a specific way it requires you to administer your direct payments, but this is quite rare.
  • Terms and conditions can vary between providers and they may charge different amounts, so it’s important that you understand what is being offered before you choose a provider. 

If you have more questions about the full managed account service, ask your social care worker.

What next?

You may want to discuss the options for managing direct payments with your social care worker, with family and friends, or the direct payment support service below:

Independent Lives

Phone: 01903 219 482 (option 3)

Email: Independent Lives

Making a complaint

If you want to make a complaint about Adult Social Care, you might want to use an independent advocate to help you understand the complaints process and put your views across effectively.

For more information about how to make a complaint, please read our leaflet: How to make a complaint or give feedback.

More information

See further leaflets and factsheets

Contact us to get more copies of this factsheet, or any of the other leaflets or factsheets mentioned.

Email: Health and Social Care Connect
Phone: 0345 60 80 191
Minicom : 18001 0345 60 80 191

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