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Personal budgets

Last updated Tuesday, 25th Nov 2014

Some people with mental health issues are eligible for support with their social care needs from social services. In Kent and Medway, this is offered through the local mental health trust - Kent and Medway Partnership Trust (KMPT). Most people who are entitled to support with their social care needs will be offered a personal budget.

What is a personal budget?

A personal budget is the amount of money social services will provide to meet a person's eligible social care needs as set out following a community care assessment. The person can then make choices about how they want to spend and manage the money allocated to them. This is known as self-directed support.

Who can get a personal budget?

People who have had a community care assessment from the community mental health team, may be able to get a personal budget to help meet their social care needs. The mental health professional uses national eligibility criteria as part of the assessment to work out whether the person is eligible for support with their social care needs that relate to their mental health difficulties.

Calculating the personal budget

An estimated personal budget is calculated or worked out following the community care assessment which is carried out by a mental health professional in the community mental health team.

How does someone get the money?

Before someone can have any money through a personal budget, they need to complete a support plan which needs to be agreed by the mental health professional. The person also needs to decide how they would like to manage the money. This might be by using a bank account or using the Kent or Medway card for example.

Where does the money come from?

The money for personal budgets is from the councils' budget for adult social services.

Does it affect benefits?

No. A personal budget does not count as income for tax and benefit purposes. A personal budget is specifically to pay for care and support. It is not a loan.

What is a support plan?

A support plan explains the ways in which someone hopes to achieve the life they want. It will include their ideas on how they would like to use a personal budget to meet their eligible social care needs as indentified in their assessment. There are lots of tools available to help you with this. More information can be found in our section ‘Plan for a better life’.

How can a personal budget be used?

A personal budget must be spent on the things set out in a person's support plan, which aim to meet the eligible social care needs identified during the community care assessment. This could be ways to meet new people or learn new things, for example. With a personal budget, there is more choice about how these needs can be met. A personal budget cannot be spent on anything that is illegal or would cause harm to the person or other people.

Who creates the support plan?

The person with an estimated personal budget creates their own support plan. People can ask for help from anyone they choose. For example, someone might want to:

  • ask friends or family
  • ask their care co-ordinator
  • ask a professional such as a mental health worker or an advocate
  • appoint a support broker.

There is more information about brokers in our section ‘What is a broker?’

How is a support plan approved?

Support plans need to be approved by a mental health professional from the community mental health team. Following this, the actual personal budget will be agreed. This is the money which is given based on the agreed support plan. It may be the same, more or less than the estimated personal budget.

Where can I find out more?

The introduction of personal budgets for people with mental health needs is fairly new to Kent and Medway. More information about how the process works in Kent and Medway will be added to this website over the coming weeks.

Kent County Council's website has information about personal budgets

Medway Council’s website has information about its self-directed support team.

Kent and Medway Partnership Trust’s website has information about the support and services it provides.

The national mental health charity Mind has written some useful information about personal budgets.

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