Following an assessment of my needs, I was able to begin to draw up a support plan which detailed how they were going to be met, and confirmed the amount of personal budget needed to meet them. The next big decision was to decide how to manage my personal budget, and to consider which option would give me the most flexibility for my needs, which were often changing.
The direct payment system fitted me better than the individual service funding, in that it allows me, as someone using enablement services and holding a support plan, to have a greater say in what I want and how it suits my needs, as detailed in my support plan. Having some form of control makes such a difference.
As someone in their 20s, I'd like to hope I have years ahead of me. Knowing I'll require support of some kind, I know I can have control over my care and social needs to fit around my lifestyle as I grow. As with everything there are areas for improvement, such as when my support plan changes and when I need to employ new staff. This is even harder living in a rural area, which has meant the majority of my care is provided by an agency of my choice, but as I have a direct payment I can say when I would like them working (agencies have tighter times).
Here are some of my top tips to consider if opting for a direct payment:
- Make sure your support plan is designed to meet your flexible and changing needs
- Think about how you'll manage a direct payment - will it be you, a nominated person, or a provider such as Penderels?
- Make sure you're clear on your responsibilities as an employer - POhWER can help you with this
- Make sure you stay in control. you're the boss!