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]


Direct payments are paid directly into your bank, building society, Post Office or National Savings' account.

Payments can be made by cheque, if required, and this can be cashed at a Post Office.

Amount of Direct Payment

Direct Payments must be calculated on the basis of the “reasonable costs of securing the cost of the service concerned”.

Therefore, the Trust will make an estimated calculation of what the service should cost including associated costs (for example, national insurance, VAT and employer’s liability insurance). If your chosen method of securing services is more expensive than the Trust's estimate, you may have to meet the shortfall yourself, although this can be challenged.

The Department has not set a limit on the maximum or minimum amount of a Direct Payment. Before Direct Payments begin, Trusts should tell the recipients how and when the payments will be made.

You can adjust the amount you use week to week and ‘bank’ any spare money to use as and when extra needs arise.

Repayment or withdrawal of Direct Payment

Trusts have power to seek repayment of Direct Payments if they are satisfied that it is not being used to secure the provision of the services to which it relates.

The guidance advises that Trusts should bear in mind that repayments should be aimed at recovering money:

  • Which has been diverted from the purpose for which it was intended
  • Where services have been obtained from someone who is ineligible to provide them
  • Which has simply not been spent at all

It should not be used to penalise honest mistakes nor should re-payment be sought from you if you have been the victim of fraud.

Regulations additionally provide that a Trust shall cease making Direct Payments, if you no longer appear to the Trust to be capable of managing a Direct Payment or managing it with help.