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Applying for and using a personal budget

The way you spend your personal budget will be set out in your EHC plan.

It’s nothing daunting, you and your SEN officer will discuss this with you and go through all the options you have.

You can choose a service recommended by the local authority, or you’re free to choose your own.

How you'll receive your personal budget

  • direct payment – an amount paid directly to you, allowing you to spend it on the services set out on in the plan
  • arrangement - where the local authority looks after the budget for you and arranges service set out in the plan
  • third party arrangement this is where you choose that your budget is managed by another person or organisation on behalf of the child
  • any combination of these

What you can spend your personal budget on

You SEND officer will work with you to find the support which best suits your needs.

Depending on what your circumstances are, you’ll be able to spend your budget on:


Your education plan may set out that mainstream support is not able to provide the support you need.

You could use your budget for

  • specialist education equipment
  • one-on-one support
  • transport to and from the education provider

Social care

  • Support in your home
  • Community services
  • Short breaks

How to apply for personal budget

To get a budget to support your independence, you’ll first need to be assessed.

  • when being assessed for an education health and care plan (EHC plan) your special educational needs (SEN) officer will ask you about a personal budget
  • from assessment to final plan will take a maximum of 20 weeks
  • a plan will be created with you and professionals to understand what support is best need for the child
  • from this, an estimate can be made as to how much funding the plan should cost. 
  • the budget and plan will only be finalised one you and the young person are completely happy with it.