Carers and Direct Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 2002

The Carers and Direct Payments Act (Northern Ireland) 2002 was implemented in two stages. It repeals the Personal Social Services (Direct Payments) (NI) Order 1996. The first stage which came into force in March 2003 made three main provisions. The Act allows Health and Social Services Trusts to provide personal social services to support carers directly. It gives them the right to an assessment of their own needs. Thirdly, Trusts are required to inform people of their legal right to a care assessment.The second stage of the Act, implemented in April 2004, widened the availability of Direct Payments. Since its implementation, Trusts have had the power to make Direct Payments available to more people.

The original legislation made Direct Payments available to disabled people over the age of 18 who were eligible for Social Services and deemed by the Trust as being willing and able to manage Direct Payments with as much assistance as necessary. The main changes that the new legislation brings are that Trusts have the power to make Direct Payments

  • to disabled people (including 16-17 year olds) for services to meet their own assessed needs.
  • to older people who get services from the Trust.
  • to disabled people with parental responsibility for a child.
  • to people with parental responsibility for disabled children.
  • to carers (including 16/17 year olds) for services to meet their own assessed needs.

In addition,Trusts have a duty to make a Direct Payment, where someone who has been assessed as needing services requests a Direct Payment and meets the conditions for receipt of a Direct Payment.

DHSSPS Guidance

The Department of Health and Social Services and Public Safety has produced "A Guide to Receiving Direct Payments". This booklet is to help people who are considering using Direct Payments. Also available is a booklet titled Direct Payments Legislation and Guidance for Boards and Trusts. You can view a copy of each of these on our External Publications page.