Is your Personal Budget failing to deliver?

Personal budget problems


Personal budget


Is your personal budget for social care failing to get you the type or range of support you want?

The Care Act 2014 gives everyone the right to a personal budget for social care if they have eligible needs.

“It’s common for things like hairdressing costs to be restricted”

This is how personal budgets are supposed to work

A personal budget allows an amount of money to be made available to meet the care needs of an individual. In theory, the money can be used to provide care in a way that best suits them.

A care plan should set out the health and social care needs of the individual. The plan should focus on the desired outcomes, the amount of money in the budget and how to spend it. The plan has to be agreed between the individual, or someone on their behalf and their local council.

Personal budgets are intended to give people with long-term health and care needs more choice and control over the money spent on them.

A personal budget may be used for a range of things. This can include therapies, personal care and specialist equipment.



A personal budget should focus on the individual’s goals

A personalised care and support plan should aim to identify a person’s health and wellbeing goals. It should set out how the budget will be spent to enable the individual to reach those goals. But recent surveys of personal budget users indicate that councils aren’t always using them correctly.

There’s a strong suspicion some local authorities are using personal budgets as a way to control social care costs. Some social care experts say that local authorities are still not sure how to use the personal budget system to deliver better, more affordable care. Is that your experience too?

Here are some examples of how councils try to limit what’s spent on an individual’s care and support:

  • It’s common to see money for things like hairdressing being restricted.
  • Payments for a personal assistant’s food in a cafe or restaurant while out with the service user may be refused.
  • Requests to buy a caravan for the service user and his/her family to go on holiday together are often declined.


How should personal budgets be used?

A personal budget should be used to personalise the individual’s care. The problem for some people is that not all councils are willing to move away from old standardized systems they’re used to.

The person with a personal budget (or their representative) should:

  1. Be at the centre of developing their personalised care and support plan;
  2. Agree who is going to be involved;
  3. Be able to agree their own health and wellbeing outcomes with relevant professionals;
  4. Understand from the start how much money is going to be available for their care and support;
  5. Have enough money in the budget to meet the agreed needs and outcomes set out in the personalised care and support plan;
  6. Have the option to manage the money either as a direct payment, a notional budget, a third party budget or a mixture of those methods;
  7. Be able to use the budget in ways and at times that suit the individual, as agreed in their personalised care and support plan.


Tips for getting a personal budget to work for you

#1. You have a statutory right to a personal budget if you are eligible – so ask for one;

#2 If your personal budget is limiting your ability to have a meaningful life you have the right to challenge it.

#3 If you are paying for support out of Attendance Allowance or PIP insist on those costs being deducted from your care charges.

Have you got social care problems?

If you are experiencing difficulties with a personal budget or other aspects of the social care system ask us for help. Call us to arrange a consultation or take a look at our online legal support service called BE My Own Lawyer where you can find more in-depth articles and other resources.