Who and What is a Benefits Appointee
When a person is found to be lacking capacity (P) it is recognised that they will require assistance with managing their benefits that they may be in receipt of. To manage these effectively a person can seek registration with the DWP to become P’s benefits appointee.
To register yourself as a benefits appointee for P, it is necessary to start with identifying what benefits P should be entitled to. The Government website sets out the different types of benefits and their relevant contact helpline or details so that you can arrange for a DWP assessor to visit P and yourself to verify whether you are a suitable applicant.
A person who assumes the role of the benefits appointee has the responsibility to be P’s representative with the DWP by ensuring that their benefit forms are up to date and signing on their behalf. They are also required to report any changes in P’s circumstances which will affect the benefits that they are in receipt of.
Certain changes must be reported to the DWP and a list can be found on the government website, but key changes such as: P’s admission to hospital, a change in medical condition or disability, a change in P’s savings of more than £6,000.00 and any plans to travel abroad for an extended period of time will need to be reported to the DWP. By reporting these changes, it will make sure that P does not have to repay any overpayments to the DWP and also ensure P is in receipt of the correct benefits.
A benefits appointee can ensure that they are acting in P’s best interest by opening a separate bank account to keep the benefit payments they are in receipt of for P separate from their own funds. The benefits appointee will then be able to accurately keep track of how P’s money is spent and continue to assist with managing P’s finances in their best interest.
A benefit’s appointee has fewer responsibilities than a Deputy or an attorney and will not charge profession fees for managing P’s finances. Therefore, when P’s capital is low a benefits appointee can be relied upon to still act in P’s best interest as they charge less and assume a less onerous role in managing P’s affairs.
The appointment will come to an end if the DWP find that you are not acting in the best interest of P at their regular reviews of your appointment. It will also come to a natural end if you no longer want to act as the P’s benefits appointee or upon the circumstance of P’s death.
*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*