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Self directed support for adults

Individual budgets

Is self directed support (SDS) an individual budget?


SDS is everything and anything that helps people have maximum choice and control in their lives.

Most people will not need an individual budget, as their personal resources, family friends and community resources already help meet needs.

Some people have critical or substantial needs and require additional support to ensure that they have maximum choice and control in their lives. For this small number of people, an individual budget may be needed as one part of the wider everything and anything that makes up SDS. 

How can I be considered for an individual budget?

Through a community care assessment. If the assessment identifies that you have unmet critical or substantial need that can’t be met from existing resources or supports, you may be eligible for an individual budget.

Do I have to use my budget to buy support?


You can use your budget to arrange individual support solutions. These would be agreed with you in your support plan. You are involved in planning your own support from the earliest stage.

What if I don’t get a budget or if I don’t have eligible needs?

Your assessment might have identified that:

  • you have unmet need but your needs can be met in ways other than planning with an individual budget. 
  • the risk is moderate  or low level rather than severe or critical

There is a wide range of support available within North Lanarkshire, and a social worker can help you to identify the right support and link you with this support.  

The social worker can:

  • signpost you to support and resources which are there to help
  • make sure that the right support is in place by developing an outcomes focused support plan with you
  • agree with you the kinds of support which would help and arranging for support to be available to you

How is my individual budget worked out?

Your indicative budget is the maximum amount of public money that could potentially be made available to you, to add to your own resources (family, social connections, community connections and so on) to plan with.

Part of our responsibility is to plan with you to ensure that wherever possible, the maximum amount isn’t needed. 

We need to ensure that resources are prioritised and that public money goes to where it is most needed.

If some of your outcomes can be met in ways that mean you don’t need the full indicative budget that helps you by increasing your independence and helps us to meet demand across the authority area.

The final costed plan helps identify what amount is actually needed. 

Your individual budget is not means tested nor linked to other income. You can add your own resources to your budget should you choose.

Independent Living Fund

If you already receive Independent Living Fund (ILF) income, this is factored in to your budget calculation. As an example, if your total indicative budget is £30,000 but you already receive £10,000 through ILF, the local authority commitment would be £20,000. This, plus your ILF makes up your indicative budget.

Once your suggested (indicative) budget has been agreed with you the next step is a support plan.

Page last updated:
14 Feb 2024

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