Neuro Café - 30th March 2022 by Linda S
Richard Chilton joined us this week from Hammersmith & Fulham Citizen’s Advice Bureau. He gave us an excellent overview of Power of Attorney and Benefit Appointees.
They are registered with the Department of work and pensions (DWP) to manage another person's benefits, if that person lacks the capacity to do it themselves.
They can help with paying rent, bills, managing overpayments.
A Benefit Appointee is fine short-term but not long-term unless Power of Attorney has been organised.
You can ask a friend or relative (one person) to do this such as an individual, organisation or solicitor or councillor.
They will sign a claim form, spend the benefits in the claimants’ best interests and can be held responsible.
There is an interview process and paperwork to be completed. It is a relatively quick process. You will be monitored. It is a different process depending on which benefits you get.
Power of Attorney (POA)
There are two types:
1. Ordinary - You have mental capacity.
Somebody you choose helps you make decisions or makes decisions on your behalf.
2. Lasting - You no longer have mental capacity.
This is a long-term arrangement. This can only be set up while you still have mental capacity.
A POA has ability to make decisions about your life and communicate them.
Finance & Property - can apply before loss of mental capacity
Health & Welfare - can only apply after loss of mental capacity
The Attorney is really powerful and must be someone you trust to act in your best interests and according to your wishes. It can be more than one person.
The Attorney must be over 18, can be family, a friend or solicitor but not paid care workers. The Attorney can claim expenses but cannot charge for time unless they are a solicitor.
To organise a POA, you can use a solicitor or do it yourself. It costs £82 for each LPA and can take up to 20 weeks to organise.
This video describes one person’s experience of POA:
If there is no power of attorney in place
Your spouse or partner is not automatically allowed to deal with your finances
They have to apply and it can be a long and costly process. People usually regret it if they did not do it before it is needed.
Do the POA before you need it!
For a summary and more help please see slides in the Member’s Area.