A personal budget is money given to you by the council to help get the intended results or outcomes of an education, health and care (EHC) plan.
Personal budgets allow you to control how the money is spent, and give you more flexibility and choice.
You cannot get a personal budget without an EHC plan.
A personal budget can be requested from the council when you get a draft or proposed amended EHC plan.
Managing a personal budget
Personal budgets are normally managed by the parents or carers of a child with special educational needs or disabilities (SEND), particularly if the child is under 16.
Young people with SEND aged 16 to 25 may choose to:
- manage their own personal budget if they are able to
- use a third party to manage the money on their behalf
You can choose to:
- take the money as a direct payment and pay for the services you need
- ask the council to pay for services you need from your personal budget allocation
You do not need to have a personal budget. If you choose not to have a personal budget, the money will be managed by the council to help meet the outcomes of your EHC plan.
A personal budget is not the total of all money made available to support a child or young person with SEND. For example, it does not include the cost of a school place or existing help from an education provider.
Personal budgets and education
The council may provide top up funding to the education provider named in an EHC plan.
An education provider can be:
- early years settings such as nurseries or preschools
- providers of further education such as colleges
Top up funding helps education providers give you extra support, which they cannot afford from their normal funding.
You can choose to have this top up funding paid into your personal budget.
The council will provide this funding on a termly basis.
You can spend the money on things that will be used at the education provider’s premises to help meet the outcomes of an EHC plan, such as:
But you can only do this if the headteacher or principal of your education provider agrees.
You cannot usually spend the money on services provided to the council on contract, as we already get the best possible value for these. This includes:
- speech and language therapy
- occupational therapy
Personal budgets and social care
Social care support for children and young people with SEND can include:
- help in your home
- support to access community events
You can use a personal budget to pay these social care costs.
Personal budgets can also be used for short breaks.
When a child changes from child social care to adult social care, they will get a personal budget as standard to pay for social care services and support.
Personal budgets and health
A personal health budget is money to support your health and wellbeing if you have SEND, or are looking after a child with SEND.
How this money is used is planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team.
You may get a personal health budget if you:
- look after a child that gets a continuing care package from the NHS
- are over 18 and get NHS continuing healthcare
Read more about personal health budgets and eligibility.