We will not be providing face-to-face advice or training for the foreseeable future. We will contact existing advice clients by phone. Our staff will continue to support our members and can be reached via telephone and email as usual.

We are working hard to move our training, where possible, to digital. For any queries, please contact our training team at [email protected]

We can only provide advice to people living in Northern Ireland. 

Helpline contact details:

Welfare Changes ring 0808 802 0020 or email [email protected]
Tax & Benefits ring 0800 988 2377 or email [email protected]
Business Debt ring 0800 083 8018 or email [email protected]
Debt Action ring 0800 028 1881 or email [email protected]
EU Settlement Scheme ring 0800 138 6545 or email [email protected]
For Historical Institutional Abuse advice and support call 02890 645919 email [email protected]


The option of Direct Payments can be offered to the following people as long as they are willing and able to manage the payment:

  • Older People who have been assessed as needing a community care service
  • Disabled people
  • Parents of disabled children

In addition, direct payments can be used to support your carer in their caring role or help maintain your carer’s own health and well-being.

Trusts have a duty to make Direct Payments if requested

If you already receive care services, you can contact your local Trust to find out more or apply for Direct Payments. If you are applying for services for the first time, your social worker should discuss the Direct Payments option with you during your care assessment.

An older lady and the nurse who cares for her.Please note that if you have a mental illness and are still subject to the conditions under the Mental Health Order 1986 or if you are subject to certain criminal justice measures, you will not be able to receive Direct Payments.

You must be willing and able to manage these Direct Payments alone or with assistance. You must retain control of the arrangements and remain accountable for the way in which the money is used. However, if you are in receipt of a Direct Payment and cease to be capable of managing the payment, the authority may continue to make the payment provided another person is prepared to accept and manage the payment on your behalf.

Use of Payments

In exceptional circumstances, where the Trust considers that it is in your best interests, Direct Payments can be used to pay for services from a spouse or partner or a close relative living in the same household. These restrictions are not intended to prohibit you from employing a live-in personal assistant (provided such a person is not someone who would be automatically excluded by the regulations).

Impact on other benefits

It is important to note that Direct Payments are not a replacement of income and therefore do not impact on your social security benefits or Independent Living Fund grants. They may be included as income though if you “employ” your partner as your carer.

Services permitted

Trusts are only permitted to make Direct Payments for personal social services which need after being assessed. They cannot make direct payments in lieu of health services, including some community services such as community nursing or services provided by medical staff.