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Personal budgets

What is a Personal Budget?

A Personal Budget is the amount of money available to you from Suffolk County Council to help meet your care and support needs. A Personal Budget means you can take control of when and how your needs are met.

Last updated December 2016

Who can have a personal budget?

We will offer you as much information, help and support as possible to regain your independence. If you still require support and you have eligible needs we will give you a Personal Budget.

If you are already receiving services from us, when you have your next review we will put a Personal Budget in place for you.

What things can a personal budget be used for?

  • getting the support you need at home (eg help with personal care)
  • getting involved in community activities
  • keeping healthy and safe (eg equipment that will help you stay independent)

Once a Personal Budget has been agreed we will work with you to plan how you want to spend the money in order to meet your care needs. Although you can choose how to spend it, it must be used to meet your care and support needs.
The plan is called a Care and Support Plan. Read about Support planning on this website. 

How much money will I get?

After short term support to regain your independence, we will use a questionnaire to allocate a score based on the level of support you still need. This score relates to a sum of money. This amount of money is called an “Indicative personal Budget”.

We then work with you to develop your plan to spend your Personal Budget to meet your needs and achieve the things you want in your life. The plan will tell us if the indicative budget is the right amount.

Will I need to pay towards my personal budget?

We will complete a financial assessment with you to calculate how much money you can afford to pay towards the cost of your care.

How do I manage a personal budget?

There are a number of ways you can choose to manage all or part of your Personal Budget. 

Direct Payments

A direct payment can be made in one or more of the following ways: 

  • Straight to you - You can have your Personal Budget paid into a separate bank account (not your existing current account) and you look after it. You pay for any support you receive and you keep a record of what you spend your money on. You can help with managing your Direct Payment add in link to direct payments
  • Jointly to a representative - Your Personal Budget is paid to someone who agrees to act on your behalf. Your representative then spends the money on your support to meet your needs. A representative can be a family member, a friend or anyone else you choose.
  • To a Suitable Person - If a decision has been made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 that you do not have capacity to consent to managing a direct payment and if it is in your 'best interest', your Personal Budget can be paid to a Suitable Person as defined by the Council and the law.
  • To a third party or provider - Your Personal Budget is paid directly to an organisation or support provider to either help you manage your money or your support. The organisation or support provider may charge you for this service. At all times, either you or your representative have control over how your Personal Budget is spent and will be involved in any decision making.

Suffolk County Council Holds the Personal Budget

We can provide and arrange care and support for you and manage your Personal Budget on your behalf.

Or you can have a mixture of a Direct Payment and Suffolk County Council arranging services for you.

Find out more information about Direct Payments.

Reviewing your personal budget

From time to time we will contact you to review how things are going.

If your needs have changed, your personal budget may be increased or decreased to reflect this. We will talk to you about this as part of your review.

How can I find out more?

What should I do now?

  • If you think you may need help, support or information you should contact Customer First. We will offer you advice and information about what is available to help you with your particular situation. You may receive help to regain independence through immediate short-term support (enablement), especially after a crisis or hospital admission.
  • After that, for people who need ongoing care and support and have eligible needs, we will offer a Personal Budget.
  • Even if you do not have eligible needs we will offer you information and advice on other ways of meeting your needs.
  • If you are already receiving care and support from the county council you will be informed about a Personal Budget at your next review.

What is a personal health budget?

Personal health budgets are being introduced by the NHS to help people manage their care in a way that suits them.

They have been piloted in a number of places across England, and since October 2014 adults receiving NHS Continuing Healthcare, and children in receipt of continuing care, have had a right to have a personal health budget.

The aim is to give people with long-term conditions and disabilities greater choice and control over the healthcare and support they receive.

Depending on your circumstances you may be able to have a personal budget for your social care and support and a personal health budget for your NHS healthcare and support needs.

You can find out more on the NHS Choices website.

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