Welfare state services are currently challenged by a key contemporary issue relating to citizens’ independence. But very little attention has been paid to how this affects the relationships between providers and receivers of welfare services. As the objective of cash-for-care systems is to enhance users’ independence by giving them the role of an employer in relation to their care workers, this article focuses on the implications of this system for user–care-worker relationships. Based on the findings of a qualitative cross-national study in Norway and the United Kingdom, the article suggests that the British system tends to foster one of two kinds of relationships – a master–servant type of relationship or a strong solidarity/emotionally-based relationship – while the Norwegian system rather tends to encourage a more professional type of relationship. In everyday practice, however, relationships can be mixed types or they can even resist the direction more usually taken within the particular cash-for-care system.