What is an individual budget?
Individual Budgets are designed to bring about independence and choice for people receiving care or support. It gives them a full understanding of the finance that is available, in order to empower them to take control and make decisions about the care that they receive. The government believes that each of us should have more control and freedom over the care and support we receive. They want us to use the money from the different types of funding that’s available and choose the services and support that’s right for us.
Can anyone have a budget?
The Individual Budgets pilot programme was a cross-government initiative led by the Department of Health working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions, and Communities and Local Government. The pilot was conducted over two years 2006-2007 involving 13 local authorities. The full independent evaluation reports were published on 21 October 2008. If it proves successful it will be rolled out nationally. If your Local Authority is taking part in the pilot a Care Manager will help you find out if you are entitled.
How much is the budget?
You will be asked to complete a simple assessment. A Care Manager could help you with this, or family and friends could help with. The assessment tells your Local Authority what support they would normally provide and how much it would cost. This is called a Resource Allocation. You can then see clearly what money is available for your needs and from there you can plan how you would like to use it. You will need to write a support plan. This is to help you spend the money in the best way and to make sure you are not put at risk through an inappropriate choice.
Who looks after the money?
You can manage the money yourself or someone can do it for you. You need to keep records on how you have spent the money but your Care Manager can help with this.
More information is available via the DofH – http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/SocialCare/Socialcarereform/Personalisation/Individualbudgets/index.htm