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Money Advice

Benefits and Direct Payments

One in three people with a serious mental health problem are in debt. They are three times more likely to be in debt compared to people without similar conditions.

This booklet (a 3mb pdf) provides basic advice for health workers on dealing with this issue. The booklet doesn’t expect health workers to become debt experts, but describes the big differences that health workers can make by knowing and doing small things. The research, writing, design, illustration, and production of the booklet has been a collaboration between people with direct experience of mental health problems, The First Step Trust, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Mental Health and Debt - from where the booklet is available - has further resources which, although principally aimed at health service professionals, could be of use to service users.

Another good source of information and advice can be found on the 'Money Saving Expert' website, where there is a Guide to Mental Health and Debt.

Advice on Benefits

Giving advice on individual benefits is very difficult to do as this area is extremely complex and constantly changing. What may be available to some people may not be applicable to others.


Direct Payments

Access to direct payments is extremely variable and support in accessing direct payments in Cambridgeshire is limited. However, more information about this aspect of financial support is being made available and will be accessible from this website.

Direct Payments are an alternative way of getting the care and support that you need. They are cash payments made directly to you so that you can make your own social care arrangements. You are able to have more choice, control and independence about how your care is organised.

The amount will be worked out following your assessment. It is based on your level of need which is outlined in your care plan and the current rates payable by the Local Authority. You will be expected to sign a contract.

There are no hard and fast rules to how the money is spent, but it must be used to obtain the type and level of service to meet your needs which will have been recorded and agreed in your care plan.

DIRECT PAYMENTS IN CAMBRIDGESHIRE answers all of your questions in more detail and can be accessed here on or alternatively a paper document can be obtained via Vaness Gibney, Social Care Professional Lead at Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital, Fulbourn, Cambridge, CB1 5EF. Please telephone the admin team on 01223 218695 to request a copy.

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© Lifecraft Mental Health Handbook 2005

Last revised 21 April 2011



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