A personal budget is the term used to describe the total cost of care and support that a local authority arranges or provides for you to be able to meet your assessed needs.

The higher your personal budget, the more that the local authority might pay toward the cost of your care.

A personal budget is defined in the care act as having three parts:

  1. The overall cost to the local authority of meeting your eligible needs
  2. The amount payable by you after a financial assessment (this is known as a client contribution)
  3. The net amount the local authority must pay to meet your needs.

How can you use it?

The amount of money in your personal budget can be spent in a number of ways:

Council managed budget: the local authority manages your personal budget on your behalf, in line with your care plan.

They look after the money in your budget, make all arrangements for your care and support needs and pay fees out of your personal budget.

Managed by a third party: Similar to a council managed budget, except a third party, sometimes called a broker, manages your personal budget instead of the local authority.

Sometimes, the broker can be the actual service provider. These are often referred to as ‘Individual Service Funds’.

Direct payments: You are given money to spend yourself on meeting your needs, in line with your care plan, in the way that suits you best. The amount of direct payment you receive comes from your personal budget.

Mixed package: You can also choose a combination of these options. For example, the council could arrange some of your care but send you the rest of the money. This is often called a mixed package or "mix and match".