Self Directed Support

Purchasing the support you need yourself. Self Directed Support (SDS) allows you to directly buy in the support services you need in a form that you choose.


How does Self Directed Support work?

Instead of your local social work department providing or arranging services for you, Self Directed Support allows you to arrange services for yourself, choosing what to buy and how much to spend. It puts you in control.

You can even choose a mix of both options - buying in some services yourself, while still having your local social work department provide other services.

But it's your choice. You can still opt for your social work department to manage all these services on your behalf, if you prefer.

Am I eligible for Self Directed Support?

If you already receive social work services or have assessed care needs you may be eligible for Self Directed Support.  This might include adults with sight loss, and/or a learning disability or other complex needs, eg autism, stroke, dementia.

What can I use Self Directed Support for?

You can use the funds for things like

  • accessing building or community-based day support services
  • respite breaks
  • for someone to provide care and support to you in any setting
  • support for you at work
  • support for you in further education
  • equipment and adaptations.

Will I receive the same level of funding under Self Directed Support?

Self Directed Support offers an opportunity to meet your assessed needs in more creative and flexible ways. Your Self Directed Support payment should be enough to buy services of an equivalent standard to those provided by your local authority.


Your payment is funded from local authority budgets, but it may also include other funding such as the Independent Living Fund, Access to Work and money you receive from your health board. Self Directed Support does not affect any other state benefits that you may be receiving.

The options for managing individual budgets are:

  • taking it as a direct payment (a cash payment)
  • giving to a provider (the authority holds the budget, but you  
  • are in charge of how it is spent)
  • the local authority arranges a service for you
  • or a mixture of the above options.

Can I get assistance to help me manage my Self Directed Support?

There are many ways in which people can have more choice in their support, and they can have as much or as little control over
managing the budget as they want. RNIB Scotland can help and advise you on accessing Self Directed Support if you have sight loss and/or a learning disability. A list of other organisations which can also help and advise you is given on the Self-Directed Support Scotland website.

How do I access Self Directed Support

Following an assessment of your needs, a personal care plan is agreed and an SDS application approved. Start and review dates are agreed and you receive the funding for your care and support. You may be asked by your local authority to provide confirmation of how you have used the funds.

What if I change my mind?

If you feel that Self-Directed Support is not the best option for you, you can ask your local social work department to manage your care and support services.

Further Information on SDS

We can help and advise you on Self Directed Support if you have sight loss. We also specialise in helping people with a learning disability and other complex needs who have sight loss.

You can contact our Self Directed Support Project manager who is based at RNIB Clydebank, 3rd Floor East, Erskine House, Clydebank Business Park, Clydebank, G81 2DR.  Telephone number - 0141 941 1041 or email [email protected]

Alternatively, you can contact the service co-ordinator at our learning disability and complex needs services directly.

Glasgow Base on 0141 772 5588 or email us at [email protected].

Fife Base on 01592 646015 or email [email protected]