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Direct payments: friend or foe?

Following the recent White Paper, Modernising Social Services, the Government has announced its intention to make Direct Payments available to disabled people over 65 as well as, as at present, to those under that age. While no indication is given as to timescale, there is every indication that the change will be made fairly soon as it will not require primary legislation. It is therefore timely to consider what Direct Payments are and their implications for older people in the future.

1 March 1999

Direct payments - friend or foe?

Following the recent White Paper, "Modernising Social Services", the Government has announced its intention to make Direct Payments available to disabled people over 65 as well as, as at present, to those under that age. While no indication is given as to timescale, there is every indication that the change will be made fairly soon as it will not require primary legislation. It is therefore timely to consider what Direct Payments are and their implications for older people in the future.

The basic principle underlying Direct Payments is the creation of a new way of ensuring that people receive the Community Care services they need. Readers will be aware of how older and disabled people have the right to be assessed for these needs, and that Local Authorities, generally, have a duty to ensure these needs are met. The introduction of the Community Care (Direct Payments) Act, in April 1997, ...

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