Personal budgets and direct payments

A personal budget is an amount of money identified to support the delivery of all or some of the outcomes set out in an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan). A personal education budget enables the support offered to the child or young person to be further personalised.

The following have a right to ask for an EHCP personal budget

  • Parents or carers of children and young people who have an EHCP.
  • Those children and young people with an LA agreement that an EHCP assessment will be undertaken.

What is a personal budget used for?

The potential scope for an EHCP personal budget will be identified during the EHC planning and review process considering the views, findings and recommendations of the contributing professionals, discussion with parent carers and the child and young person via a Team Around the Child (TAC) planning meeting or annual review meeting, overseen by a lead professional or SEN principal officer.

The scope for a special educational needs personal budget will not include the financial resource available to education settings, which funds pupil places (Element 1); nor will it include targeted support managed by the education setting (Element 2) which offers additional learning support to individuals, classes or groups of pupils and students

How is a personal budget set up?

There are different payment options available:

  • You can opt to receive a pre-paid card which is the preferred method. This is where a card (similar to a debit card) will be sent to you with funds loaded on with an online account ready for use. This is the preferred method as you won’t need to open a separate account or to send us bank statements every three months, as we will be able to monitor the usage from the database. You will still be required to submit receipts when requested so that usage can be audited. This fact sheet will provide more information.
  • You can open a bank account for the sole use of direct payments, where you will need to provide us with those bank details to load the funds to every four weeks. Every three months you will be required to complete a quarterly return and attach bank statements and receipts to it, to evidence your usage.
  • You can have a managed account or be supported via one of our three commissioned direct payment support providers. If you choose to have a managed account, the funds will go directly to the provider and they will pay all your invoices on your behalf and send us the required returns/statements.
Pre-paid Cards for Direct Payments

If the option of a direct payment is preferred and chosen, you can opt for a pre-paid card. The pre-paid card is a flexible, fast and convenient way to manage your account. Payments will be made to the card account every 4 weeks in your card is only to be used to pay for support which has been agreed and is detailed in your education health care plan.

Other types of personal budget

Everyone receiving NHS continuing healthcare (including children’s continuing care) has a right to have a personal health budget, which may include the option of a direct payment. The Birmingham CCGs are working with families to find the best way to offer personal health budgets alongside council funded personal budgets to deliver services agreed in EHCPs.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, personal budgets are not a “benefit” so it would not affect any other social security benefits you may receive.

No, personal budgets and direct payments are not classed as income so you don’t pay tax.

If you decide to have the money paid to and managed by yourself you will need to:

  • Open a separate bank account just for your direct payment to be paid into.
  • Keep proper records and receipts on how you have spent your funds – these will be monitored by the Local Authority and requested during the year. 

For more information and advice about requesting a personal budget you should contact the SENCo at your Child’s school who will be able to discuss with you further the next steps.