Personal Budget/Direct payment being clawed back by council

I just received a statement regarding my daughter’s direct payments. any money that doesn’t get used (and during lockdown she was not able to go anywhere or use any services or go out with her PA) is clawed back. They call it a batch load reversal and they took back over £4000.

I feel if it’s my daughter’s PB it should stay in her account. I would like to know where the money they claw back actually goes.

Back into the council coffers …


For what though Melly? I think if that money is allocated to an individual as a PB then it should stay with them. They might need it in future.

Did you give any support during lockdown?? The govt told LA’s to be flexible or similar in their civic guidance. Might be worth looking at this and sending to the council rather than the money?

Maybe Michael could arrange some official CUK guidance on this subject?

It would be helpful if Michael did arrange some guidance on this Bowlingbun.

I’ve highlighted your posts to Michael

Thank you.

We did receive a letter from County Hall giving examples of what you might be able to claim for and what you couldn’t. Eg a claim for a laptop or Ipad would not be acceptable for leisure purposes but if you are using it to “keep volunteering at home” it “may meet one of the Care Act outcomes.”

Likewise a bike may help someone with mental health problems to travel to get support or training to get a job. But would not be allowed for leisure use!

Crazy because everywhere was in lockdown so not relevant.

We therefore did not put in requests for anything at all.

Hello Penny.

Thanks for posting about this issue in the Forum. I have forwarded your post to colleagues in our helpline and policy teams and should be able to give you further guidance on this early next week.

With good wishes


Thank you Michael


I have a different, but related issue.
My son with SLD has lost 38 hours of care a week, as day centres have closed and I wasn’t allowed to have him home.
Whilst in theory, he has a personal budget managed by the LA, which should have been allocated to other ways of meeting his needs, the LA has chosen to pay the provider who has provided nothing at all, so that the provider is still in business after the lockdown ends fully.
Please can you ask the helpline team if this is
a) lawful
b) if it reflects government guidance to use budgets “flexibly” during lockdown?

My son was getting so fed up I took him to Devon for a few days, but the LA refuses point blank to pay me to take him on holiday. I have this in writing.
Many thanks.

Hi Penny,
Hope you are well.

As promised, please find a response from our helpline adviser regarding your situation. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact our helpline on 0800 808 7777 or

Wishing you all the best,


Dear Penny,

Thanks for your message about your daughter’s direct payments.

Local authorities can usually take back a certain amount of direct payments that is not used in the account. However, taking back £4,000 is quite excessive especially during Covid-19 where you were not able to spend the money for services.

We advise that you ask for two polices the local authority may have, one of them being their policy on direct payments as this will state how much they can claw back if payments are not used. The second being their policy on their response to Covid-19. Hopefully there is a section in there about direct payments as there have been a few changes to direct payments during the outbreak.

When they do ask for money back the money does go back to the finance team and back into their main account.

If they do continue to ask for this money back, you can challenge their decision by making a formal complaint. Your complaint should highlight the point that you were never informed that they could claw back money that has not been used, and secondly, during Covid-19 it has understandably been difficult to use the money as all services had shut down. You can explain it is your intention to use this money when restrictions start to ease again.

Lastly, councils should take into account a person’s fluctuating needs. For example, someone may have more needs one month than the other because of how their condition affects them. If this applies to your daughter then please do explain this in your complaint.

If you do have any further questions please do let us know.

Best wishes,
Carers UK

Thanks for that Michael. I will try and get them on the phone today.

They don’t ask for the money, they just take it!

I had trouble getting through on the phone so have emailed the dept who forwarded the Statement. The exact figure they took back was £4700 in June! I have asked for copies of the 2 policies you told me about.


I am puzzled how they could just take it. The direct payment is usually in the recipients bank account. Unless of course it is a managed account.

Finally got a reply.

“The batch load reversal is a reclaim of £4,700 calculated as a build up of excess funds held within the Direct Payment account. It is public money which the council has to account for. If the DP account holds a build up of excess funds this will be reclaimed. In accordance with the terms and conditions any excess funds reclaimed back to the council Must ensure there are enough funds in the account to meet ongoing care costs.

We are aware that some of our clients have been unable to use their DP during the Covid period. Rather than stop the DP funding our clients were unable to use, the council continued to pay the DP into their accounts so as not to interrupt the DP schedule.

£9,142.49 balance in DP account at 16/6/20
Less £4,377.20 amount required to meet care and support costs (equivalent to 20 weeks payment into the DP account at £218.86 per week.
£4,765.29 Reclaim amount. Then rounded down to nearest £100.”

Does that make sense to anybody?


The £9,000 figure is what is in the account at the moment

Then they’ve worked out how much direct payments should have been spent in 20 weeks.

So they are taking back the £4,000+ amount.

In other words, there was about £4,000 unspent. Is this about right? Was there £4,000 unspent at the beginning of the year.

Whoever wrote the letter/email needs shooting, or rather, has an “urgent need for further training” so that they know how to present accounts in a proper form, i.e. in a column of numbers with the decimal point always in the same place, with writing explaining each figure.

Hampshire CC are so useless They can’t do this either, and when I’ve complained, apparently they don’t know what I’m talking about. None of those I’ve been involved with understand contract law, and when I’ve applied it properly in my dealings with providers, they’ve complained about my management of M’s DP’s, which is why I resigned from managing them.
I managed the accounts for a hospital in Western Australia, turning it round from worst peforming to best performing in under 3 years, have run a small business for 20 years, and have an Honours degree in Business Studies, yet still they don’t give me the respect I deserve when it comes to Business matters.

They are saying that the account stood at £9142.49.

They’ve calculated care costs at £4377.20 for 20 weeks, leaving a balance of £4765.29.

They have reclaimed the £4765.29 (rounded down to £4700) as it’s not been used.

There should now be a balance of £4442.49 in the account

I was horrified to find that three times the Council has clawed back monies without prior warning. They say that legalling they only need keep the equivalent to two months worth of DP in the account. Anything not used is the Councils and returns to them, apparently. What gets me is despite it being DP, supposedly to use on what we feel it should, Purple blocks any invoices placed until the Social worker Okays them. My son had no care for a year because the Council failed to find a qualified PA out who could do the job, so they clawed back the whole years DP because they wouldn’t let us use it. It’s all smoke and mirrors and its so frustrating to get a handle on it. It feels criminal to me.

Trish, that is slightly different. If no one else was available to care, and you felt forced to care, then really YOU should be paid for the care you provide. This is the same sort of situation that I’ve been in. Covid19 instructions to LA’s was clear, that they should be creative and flexible, or words to that effect, so that people got the care they needed.