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Direct payments: managed accounts and pre-paid cards

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If you are assessed to receive direct payments from Merton Council your direct payments will be paid every four weeks in advance on to a pre-paid card. We will arrange for a pre-paid card to be issued to you. You can either manage your pre-paid card yourself or sign up to a Merton Managed Account if you need assistance with this.

What is a pre-paid card?

If you receive direct payments from Merton Council to pay for your assessed needs, you will be given a pre-paid card on to which your direct payments are paid. You use this like a debit card, to pay for the goods and services you use to meet your social care needs as set out in your Care Act Assessment. For example, to pay for a care agency or PA to support you. Please see the leaflet 'Direct payments and pre-paid card' for more information.

What is a Merton Managed Account?

A Merton Managed Account (MMA) is a chargeable service offered by Merton Council to adult social care customers who would like the benefits of a direct payment but do not feel confident managing the financial processes on their own. The service is an option for all Adult Social Care customers, including those who do not receive financial support towards their care needs from the council; we call these individuals 'self-funders'.

The service is designed to assist customers who receive direct payments, but who need or choose to have support managing the financial aspects of their personal budget such as paying personal assistants or care agencies.

You will need to complete a Care Act Assessment. This will help us assess your need for a financial management service. You will also be financially assessed for your ability to pay for the service. If you are eligible, we will allocate extra funds to help you access a financial management service such as MMA.

How does it work?

The MMA team will arrange for the customer's personal direct payment to be paid into a Merton Managed Account. The MMA team will manage these funds in accordance with the customer's wishes as laid out in their Care Act Assessment. The customer retains control, deciding how they want to deliver their care and support needs in line with their Care Act Assessment. The MMA team will arrange the payments for the services the customer receives.

Customers benefit from enjoying the flexibility of a direct payment without the need to manage the additional financial responsibilities with a direct payment.

What are the MMA options and how much will it cost?

The MMA is a chargeable service with three different options. Any Adult Social Care customer can choose to buy one of these services and if during your Care Act Assessment it is shown that you have a need for a money management service, you may receive money within your personal budget to help pay for the service.

One off set up service: Designed for customers who need assistance with the ‘set up’ of their newly chosen services  (e.g. a care agency). The MMA team will communicate with the customer’s service provider to fully establish service requirements such as: start dates, how and when services are to be provided and how they will be paid. The aim will be for the MMA team to establish the service to a point where services can begin and the customer can pay the bills as they arrive. This makes the process of changing providers or starting a new service easier than ever, saving customers time and effort.

One off charge of £23.94

Temporary managed account: Designed to be a temporary service, the MMA team will manage the customer’s personal budget (providing it is paid as a Direct Payment) and use it to pay for services that have been selected by the customer and listed within their support plan. The MMA team will handle a range of selected financial processes for the customer, for example: paying care invoices. The MMA team will work with and support the customer to develop their skills and confidence in dealing with financial processes.

This service is provided to customers whose long-term goal is to take back full financial responsibility and manage a personal budget independently.

One off set up fee £5.00 and £18.90 per month

Ongoing managed account: This is the complete ongoing service. The MMA team can manage all of the financial processes associated with the customer’s personal budget (providing its paid as a Direct Payment) that the customer finds difficult or prefers not to manage. The MMA team will arrange the initial set up and the payment of selected services as requested by the customer. This will enable the customer to benefit from being able to choose their own service providers, without having to put in the effort or time into managing the payments for these services, or keeping track of their personal budget spend throughout the year.

One off set up fee £5.00 and £231.80 per year

Possible additional costs

You will not be charged for having a pre-paid card. However, customers will receive some small additional charges from their pre-paid card supplier. Customers will be expected to pay any charges for bill payments, standing orders and direct debits. Currently, this is 35p for each direct debit or standing order transaction and 45p for each online payment through the pre-paid card provider we use.

How do I get a Merton Managed Account?

Customers requiring adult social care support from the council will have a Care Act Assessment (CCA) and have a financial assessment. The CAA will help to assess the customer's needs, including the requirement for a financial management service like a MMA. The council will provide assistance with completing these forms if required. More information on the financial assessment process can be found here:

Financial Assessments

On completion of the CAA and financial assessment the customer will be offered assistance with planning the spending of their allocation. The customer's Care Act assessment will include the costs for all of the services the customer has chosen to receive including those for a MMA.

The customer will then be referred to the Direct Payments team who will support the customer in completing any necessary forms and locating services and/or personal assistants. Once completed the MMA team will contact the customer and arrange for the required MMA service to be put in place if this has been assessed as needed.

For more information on Merton managed accounts please see:

The Merton Managed Accounts Leaflet

Contact us

Direct Payment Team
Merton Civic Centre
London Road

Telephone: 020 8545 3925