In order to get the most out of using the Direct Payments Scheme, it is crucial that your needs have been properly assessed. If you have had an assessment recently, it may not be necessary for you to have another one to access the Direct Payments Scheme.

Before you have your assessment it is important that you decide how you want to live your life. When you have made the decisions, you will be able to work out what type of personal assistance you need. This will help you to work out what support you need.

The assessment should focus on your needs and not on the services that the Trust usually provides. It is important that you have a say in the assessment. The first thing that you should think about is how you want to live your life and what support you need to enable you to live the way you want. There will be things you need support with regularly. You should also consider what you require assistance with occasionally.

It is important that you aim to strike a balance between under-estimating and over-estimating your needs. By asking for too little you are unlikely to achieve the quality of life you want. If you ask for too much, then having another person with you most of the time may feel safe but you risk losing privacy and choice.

Before the formal assessment meeting, you should have a clear picture of what you need. When you do a self-assessment, you should identify all the assistance you feel you need even though the Trust may not have the resources to meet all your needs. The level of support you get can be negotiated at the assessment meeting. If you satisfy the eligibility criteria, and request Direct Payments, the Trust must allow you to have them.

If there is another person living with you who provides support to you, this may be considered in your assessment. It is for you to decide how much support you wish to continue receiving from this individual, if any.

You may wish to identify your needs by using a chart to list the tasks that you need assistance with. Below is an example of a self-assessment chart that may be used for guidance but it is not the only way for needs to be identified. For example, it may be useful to keep a diary over a few weeks to help you when preparing for an assessment.

How to Complete the Chart

List the tasks that you require support to carry out, the length of time it takes for each and how often it has to be done. Try to base this on a typical week. This will give you a total number of hours support you require.

Additionally, you should think about the assistance you need on a weekly, monthly and occasional basis. If you have a condition that changes it is important to allow for this when you are considering the best way of having your needs met.

The example below is for guidance. Your needs may be different.

Assessment Chart

Don't worry about getting the assessment right first time as you will get the chance to make changes to your support package later.