Guide: Direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak

Using direct payments during the coronavirus outbreak: full guidance for people receiving direct payments and personal assistants

Who this document is for

This document is aimed at people of all ages ‒ children, young people and adults ‒ who receive support through their personal budgets or personal health budgets and take this as a direct payment. It’s also relevant to family members and carers, local authorities (LAs), clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), providers and people who are employed through a direct payment, including personal assistants (PAs) (including those who are self-employed).

It sets out key messages to support people in planning and receiving their care and support safely during the pandemic, including slowing the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and reducing the possibility of hospital admission or care breaking down.

It takes account of the latest advice issued by government, including the Care Act easements guidance. It also takes into account the ethical framework for adult social care. This framework provides support to councils’ ongoing response planning and decision-making during the pandemic to ensure that consideration is given to a set of ethical values and principles when organising and delivering social care for adults.

This document has been developed by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) based on questions and concerns raised by members of the public. Contributions to the document have also been made by a number of government departments, organisations and charities, including Think Local Act Personal (TLAP), In Control, Skills for Care, Local Government Association staff (LGA), ADASS staff, NHS England and NHS Improvement, including the Personalised Care Strategic Co-production Group, and the National Co-production Advisory Group (NCAG).

This document will be updated to take into account any new relevant guidance published, and also to respond to any new issues or concerns raised by members of the public. For any concerns or questions that are not answered in this guidance (or other published guidance), please email these to These will be considered for future versions of this document.

This document should be read alongside the direct payment guidance for commissioners.

You may also wish to read this document alongside TLAP‘s jargon buster ‒ a directory of plain English definitions of commonly used words and phrases in health and social care.

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