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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 2024 (FS12)

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Client managed account

What is it?

A client managed account means that we make payments to clients who want to manage their own direct payments – for example, to pay personal assistants' wages and care agency bills. It is secure and can be very convenient. 

How does it work?

If you choose this option, we will open a pre-paid card account for you. You will get a card through the post which looks a bit like a debit card, and we will 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 pre-paid 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 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 will not 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 is in your direct payment card account; there is no overdraft facility.

East Sussex County Council (ESCC) managed account

What is it?

If you are using direct payments to buy home or day care from an agency (and nothing else), 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 Payments team will manage for you. If you pay towards your care and support, you will be able to set up a direct debit to make these payments.

The Direct Payments team will let you know if there are any problems with your ESCC managed account. You can request a copy of your account statement at any time and the Direct Payments team will send it to you.

Getting us to pay the bills for you does not 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 client managed account. 

Things to note

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

  • Send a copy of the four-weekly bill to the Direct Payments  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, you will need to tell the Direct Payments team.
  • 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.

Support service managed account

What is it?

You may want to use a support service managed account service if you are 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 support service 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 support service 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 £10.50 per week. 

When you have chosen your provider, they will set up your 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 support service 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 will share the information with us.
  • A support service managed account service does not include a payroll service. So, although it 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 support service managed accounts, ask your social care worker. They can also talk to you about organisations that provide this service.

What next?

You may want to discuss the options for managing direct payments with your social care worker, with family and friends.

Independent Lives offer a direct payment support service with free information and advice for people who are interested in or are receiving direct payments.

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: Your feedback matters - 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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