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FAQs: For Professional Deputies About State Funding & Benefits For People With Care Needs

Health and Social Care Law Solicitors answer Professional Deputies’ questions about state benefits for people with care needs.

  1. I am Deputy for Mrs P, who has been in hospital for the past 6 weeks. Do I need to notify the Department of Work and Pensions ?
  2. I have a Property and Finance for my elderly relative. She has recently had to go into full time residential care and is paying the fees from her savings. As well as her State Pension, she receives £55 a week in Attendance Allowance. Is there any other financial help she can get?
  3. I am a Property and Welfare Deputy for my client, Mr L. Mr L has recently lost his Fast Track NHS Continuing Healthcare award as his health has stabilised. Should I reinstate his Attendance Allowance now he has lost his NHS Continuing Healthcare award?
  4. I have a new client for whom I am Deputy for property and finance. She has care at home and is self-funding as she has over £50,000 in savings. Should I still make a claim for Pension Credit?
  5. I am Deputy for a client who has been in permanent nursing care for a year. He has a Deferred Payment Agreement with the local authority over his former home, which is being rented out to help pay his care costs.  Is it correct that Attendance Allowance was stopped 28 days after my client entered a nursing home and has not been paid since? 
  6. I have a Lasting Power of Attorney for my father who has recently gone into residential care. He was receiving a Disability Living Allowance (DLA), middle rate care and high rate mobility before he entered the care home. The DLA unit have written to say that these benefits will stop, as he is partly funded by the local authority.  Is it correct that the mobility component of DLA will stop?
  7. I am a Property and Finance deputy for my client who has recently gone into permanent nursing care. Her former home is occupied by her adult son. Does the local authority need to disregard  the value of the property, because the son does not work due to long-term physical and mental health needs? He has never made a claim for disability benefits.  Could I secure a property disregard for my client and her disabled son?

I am Deputy for Mrs P, who has been in hospital for the past 6 weeks. I haven’t notified the Department of Working Pensions (DWP) about this change of circumstance. Is it important that I do this now or can I wait until she has been discharged to tell them?

Deputies have a duty to identify, secure and review all potential state benefit entitlement for their clients. This includes informing the DWP of any relevant change of circumstances, even if it will be temporary, such as an admission to hospital. Some benefits, such aats Attendance Allowance, are suspended after 28 days in hospital. You need to contact the DWP straight away to avoid Mrs P being overpaid as the DWP have the power to fine claimants, or their formal representatives, £50 for failure to notify changes of circumstances, without delay.

I have a Property and Finance Power of Attorney for my elderly relative. She has recently had to go into full time residential care as she can no longer look after herself and is paying the fees from her savings. As well as her State Pension, she receives about £55 a week in Attendance Allowance. Is there any other financial help she can get?

Your client should be entitled to the higher rate of Attendance Allowance as she has care needs day and night. The current rate of £55.65 a week is the low rate, normally paid where there are only daytime care needs. As Attorney for your relative you should claim all relevant benefits. You need to call the AA helpline and explain this change of circumstances and ask for a review. When calling the helpline, ask that the review take effect from the date of your phone call so that she does not lose out on benefits while you are completing the application forms. The higher rate is worth an additional £27.45 a week.

I am a Property and Welfare Deputy for my client, Mr L. Mr L has recently lost his Fast Track NHS Continuing Healthcare award as his health has stabilised and he is no longer considered to need end of life care. When he was awarded NHS Continuing Healthcare, I contacted the Department of Working Pensions to cancel his Attendance Allowance award. What should I do now?

Whilst it is positive to hear that Mr L’s condition has stabilised, a common consequence of such improvement is that NHS CHC is reviewed and may be withdrawn. This will often result in the person with care needs becoming a self-funder. You may wish to seek a review of the decision to end CHC. In the meantime, you need to call the AA unit and ask them to resume payment of the underlying award. You should not need to make a new telephone claim because the award should have been suspended rather than terminated when Mr L received NHS CHC.

I have a new client for whom I am Deputy for Property and Finance. She has care at home and is self-funding as she has over £50,000 in savings. She receives State Pension and Attendance Allowance. With so much capital would she be entitled to Pension Credit?

Your client may be entitled to Pension Credit despite her savings. The rules are quite different to other means tested support. The first £10,000 of capital is ignored and there is no upper capital limit for Pension Credit. Entitlement to Pension Guarantee Credit can ‘passport’ the client to other valuable benefits too, such as Council Tax reduction, Housing Benefit and help with mortgage interest payments or service charges. Call the helpline available at the Gov.uk website to make an initial claim and they do the calculations for you. If your client’s needs are complex, she may have a Primary Health Care need rather than just social care needs. See our information page on NHS Continuing Healthcare for further information.

I am Deputy for my client who has been in permanent nursing care for almost a year. He has a Deferred Payment Agreement (DPA) with the local authority over his former home, which is being rented out to help pay towards ongoing care costs. Is it correct that his Attendance Allowance was stopped 28 days after entering the nursing home and has not been paid since?

If your client has a DPA then this tells us two things. First, he is a self-funder and so he is entitled to claim Attendance Allowance at the high rate to help pay towards his care costs. Second, in order to enter into a DPA the person must have no more than £23,250 in capital excluding the value of his or her home. Your client should have had a 12 week property ‘disregard’ in which the value of the home is ignored for that period of time. This disregard only starts when capital has fallen below £23,250 and so will not necessarily be the day that he entered nursing care. The suspension of AA payments should be lifted once the 12 week disregard comes to an end and the DPA takes effect. You need to notify the benefits office straight away to request that AA is reinstated and refunded.

I have a LPA for my father who has recently gone into residential care as his care needs were too great to be safely met at home. He was getting Disability Living Allowance (DLA) middle rate care and high rate mobility before he entered the care home and DLA have now written to say that these benefits will stop as he is partly funded by the local authority. I understand not getting the care element but my father still likes to go out with us when he is feeling well enough.Does my father lose the mobility part of DLA if he is still able to get out?

A person is not paid DLA care component after 28 days in a care home if they are being part funded by the local authority. This also applies to Attendance Allowance and Personal Independence Payments (daily living component). However, the DLA mobility component (or PIP mobility) should be paid as normal regardless of how long a person is resident in a care or nursing home. There are some limited exceptions where DLA mobility would not be payable but it does not sound as though this would apply in your father’s case. You should contact the DLA unit and highlight their error – they may be able to put the mobility element back in payment straight away (and pay any underpayment). If they do not do this you need to request a ‘mandatory reconsideration’ to ask them to look at the decision again. It is advisable to do this in writing but it can be done over the phone as well. It needs to be done within a month of the date of the decision letter but can be requested outside this time limit if you can provide good reason for the delay. If your father is well enough to spend occasional overnights away from the care home, for example, if he stayed with relatives for a couple of days/nights, then you can claim the DLA care element for each of those nights.

I am a Property and Finance deputy for my client who has recently gone into permanent nursing care. Her former home is still occupied by her adult son. The local authority have said the value of the property cannot be disregarded for financial assessment purposes because the son does not meet the list of occupants for whom a disregard would be applied. The son does not work due to long-term physical and mental health needs, but he has never made a claim for disability benefits, nor did my client make a claim on his behalf.

The Care and Support Statutory Guidance (C&SSG) sets out circumstances where a property that is occupied by the person in care’s relative may be disregarded as assessable capital. One of the categories is if you have an ‘incapacitated’ relative living in the property. Although your client’s son has never claimed sickness benefits he can still be considered incapacitated if his degree of incapacity is such that he qualifies for such a benefit. He is likely to need to provide medical or other evidence and so may need independent support to do this.

If you have any further questions regarding state funding for people with care needs, then contact us today on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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