Direct payments (adult social care)

Spending your direct payment

We will give you a pre-paid card that is in your name.

We will help you to activate your card and get your PIN number from the card company's telephone helpline.

Once your card has been activated, we can begin to transfer money to your Direct Payment. We will do this every month (or as agreed with your social worker).

You can use this bank account and pre-paid card just like your personal bank account and normal debit card.

You can set up direct debits and standing orders and make one off payments or bank transfers.

What you can't do with your pre-paid card

You can't use your card to:

  • withdraw cash from a cash machine (ATM)
  • write cheques
  • go overdrawn

This means that you can only spend the amount that is available in the direct payment bank account.

Some people may choose to buy additional support over and above their eligible care needs. We recommend keeping those financial arrangements separate from your direct payment account.

This will reduce confusion about what your direct payment is used for and to help you track what you are spending on the needs agreed in your support plan.

If you have any problems using your card, or if you lose your card or your PIN, you can contact EML customer services, or the Council's Self Directed Support Team on 0191 427 1717.

Managing your card online

You will be able to log onto the online customer portal to manage your pre-paid card.

You can view your balance and see payments that have been made onto your card (credits) and payments that you have made from your account (debits).

You will be able to set up standing orders from the card account and make online payments or transfers, as well as upload copies of receipts and invoices. This will make it easy for you to keep records about how you are spending your direct payment.

You can phone EML customer services to find out your balance or make payments if you don't have access to the internet. 

If you would prefer to manage you card account online, but do not have a computer or smart phone, you can use public computers in Council libraries or through some local voluntary organisations.