Personal budgets are part of a new way of managing care and support called personalisation, which is designed to make sure the help you receive suits you as an individual.
Our Personal budgets in social care guide can help you find out more about how they work, so you can decide how you'd like your care and support arranged. Personal budgets offer you more flexibility and control, but can also mean extra work for you.
Personalisation aims to give better advice and information, health and social care, prevention, and community support, to everyone regardless of their wealth or eligibility for services.
A personal budget is an agreed amount of council money that you can use to arrange and pay for your care and support, following an assessment of your needs. You can receive it as a direct (cash) payment, through a managed account, or a mixture of the two.
If you’re managing your personal budget yourself as a direct payment, you can only spend the money on services or equipment that meet your assessed needs, but you can choose the ones that best suit you and your lifestyle. The agreed amount must be adequate to meet your eligible needs.
Say, for example, you have a favourite social group, or club that you’d prefer to go to other than the day centre the council provides, you can choose to use your personal budget to get there and pay your subs, instead of going to the day centre.
Or, if you usually have meals on wheels and you’d like a change once a week, you can use money from your personal budget to go to a café or to meet friends for lunch.
If you need a carer, you may choose to employ one yourself if it is suitable for you to do so, but bear in mind that this will mean more responsibility for you, for example, you will need to file tax records with HM Revenue and Customs.
If you don’t wish to manage your personal budget yourself, the council can do it for you based on your needs and wishes. Alternatively, you can set up a user-controlled trust, which means your money is managed for you by someone such as a friend, family member, solicitor or service provider.
You should always receive advice and support from the council to help you make an informed decision. There are a range of brokerage services being set up by voluntary organisations to help people to plan how to use their personal budget, which can be used alongside support from the council.
Download the guide Personal budgets (PDF 807 KB)
Download the Self-directed support: Direct Payments and Personal Budgets factsheet (PDF 361 KB)
Download the factsheet Paying for care and support at home (PDF 231 KB)
Set your location to see what Age UK offers in your local area.
A download is a document (like a research report, a leaflet, or an application form) that can be transferred from our website to your computer. You can download a file, view it on your screen, print it, or save it to your computer.
PDF stands for ‘portable document format’.
Most downloads on this website are PDFs. We use this format to ensure that the document looks the same on everyone’s computer (website pages, by contrast, appear differently depending on how people have set their computer up).
Computers use a program called Adobe Acrobat Reader to download PDFs. If you try clicking on a link to download a PDF and it doesn’t work, you will need to install Adobe Acrobat Reader onto your computer.
The process is quite straightforward and is free.
PDFs cannot be changed.
Downloads will open on your computer in a new browser window.
Inside this window (below all your web browser menus), there will be a toolbar with options for you to print or save the document.
Close the browser window to return to the Age UK website.
We have made every effort to make our PDFs accessible to screen readers. Please ensure that you have downloaded the latest version of Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Reader website to ensure that accessibility options are included in your version of the programme.
You can use Adobe Reader to read a PDF out loud with the following shortcut keys:
You can convert a PDF document into a text file for use with other software and hardware such as Braille printers by opening the PDF and choosing ‘Save as text’ from the File menu.
Organisation offering information and advice to carers
Government department which publishes a guide about how to receive and manage direct payments from the council
Set the appearance of this website so you can read it more easily
To see information relating to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales set your preference below: