New member - seeking advice re: appointee and bank account access

Discussion in 'Legal and financial issues' started by sue6899, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. sue6899

    sue6899 New member

    Jul 3, 2018

    My brother has recently been diagnosed with korsakoff syndrome. He has been discharged from hospital into a care home as he has no immediate family who could care for him at home. I'm trying to support my parents in navigating how we can best support him, and have been researching options but have some specific questions over what it would mean to become his DWP appointee.

    His situation in summary:
    - was unemployed prior to this, in receipt of state benefit (was JSA, then ESA now applying for PIP)
    - he has no savings, or assets and doesn't own a property
    - he is currently viewed by his social worker as lacking capacity
    - he has no POA in place

    So, my thinking was:
    - setting up POA currently not option as lacks capacity
    - could apply for deputyship but he probably only has a few hundred pounds in accumulated benefits in his account and no other assets (in fact just prior to this was working with CAB to begin bankruptcy application) so cost of deputyship couldn't really be recovered, and seems unnecessary at this stage (will probably have to do later when he's eligible for his occupational pension)
    - my thought therefore is to contact DWP to apply to become his appointee, as it's really only his benefits that we need to deal with right now

    So, where I'm struggling to get clarity from Google searches is:

    - how and at what stage do I contact DWP - he's currently in receipt of ESA and the job centre have requested pip application forms be sent out
    - as an appointee, can I gain access to the benefits which care accumulating in his current bank account? (The only monies in that account are benefit payments, it was a recently opened account)
    - if not, are there any other ways to at least view his account balance (3rd party access if they deemed he had enough capacity to sign?) - I'm just conscious that the local authority will need details to do their financial assessment and I don't know how to get this for them
    - do I have to have a new and separate account to have his benefits paid into, or if it is possible to gain access to his existing account where his other benefits are accumulating, can they continue to be paid into there?

    Thanks for reading, and thanks in advance for any help anyone's is able to offer
  2. Kevinl

    Kevinl Registered User

    Aug 24, 2013
    I believe that a DWP appointee can only deal with the DWP, it doesn't give you any access to money already in the bank. To access his accounts you'd need CoP deputyship or a POA as far as I'm aware.
  3. karaokePete

    karaokePete Volunteer Host

    Jul 23, 2017
  4. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    When you become a DWP appointee one of the things you are required to do is to have a bank account that you (rather than the person getting the benefits) control. What this means in some situations is that you would have to open a new account for your brother. Unfortunately simply becoming an appointee doesn't mean you can access an existing account.

    If he's also deemed to have lost capacity, then getting 3rd party access to his existing account is also a no go.
  5. sue6899

    sue6899 New member

    Jul 3, 2018

    Thanks Jennifer, I'd read different things about whether accessing an existing account would be possible, there was some talk of getting a second debit card issued, but I may have misunderstood the article I was reading. You said that in some situations it would mean opening a new account, does that mean that it might be an possibility to speak to his bank regarding his current account once the appointeeship is in place or would you thinks it's a definite no go?
  6. sue6899

    sue6899 New member

    Jul 3, 2018
  7. canary

    canary Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    South coast
    Im pretty sure that if you have apply for Court of protection Deputyship (because you cant get POA) for someone with a small amount of income and very low savings, that you can get a reduction in the fees, but I dont know the details.

    You might like to contact the Office of Public Guardians to ask about this
    phone 0300 456 0300
  8. stuart642

    stuart642 Registered User

    Jun 23, 2015


    I agree with Canary - the CoP route is only way to go as your brother is deemed not to have capacity.

    The forms to become a Deputy are quite daunting, however, once you get your head around them its not too bad so give it a go - a solicitor will charge £1000.00! To gain the CoP deputyship also takes a long time - 6 months in my case - as there is a lot of information that you need to collate to present to the Court ( dont worry about presenting to the Courts its all done via the post).

    There are 2 types of Deputyship - one covers Property and Affairs and the other Health and Wellbeing. You don't need both if you just need to look after his finances just the Property and Affairs. The forms for both are available online.

    Once you are appointed ( for Property and Affairs ) you will be able to access your bothers account and manage it on his behalf, and deal with any Govt Depts.

    All financial organisations and Govt Depts will need to see your appointment letter from the CoP ,before they will discuss his affairs with you - and some are better able to understand what the CoP authority means than others!

    The local authority will hold off their financial assessment, and assume he doesn't have any funds , until you can access his account and prove one way or the other. Should it transpire that he does have sufficient funds to pay his own fees , then they will invoice you. From what you have said this looks unlikely. Just explain to them that until you have been appointed by the CoP then you cannot get access to his accounts. They should be fine with this and pay any care fees pending a financial assessment.

    I do not believe that any Bank or Govt Dept ( including DWP) unless your brother has capacity, will allow you at this stage to access or take instruction on his account.

    Good luck!
  9. monkeygirl15

    monkeygirl15 Registered User

    Oct 1, 2017
    Hi Sue6899

    Welcome - but sorry that you (and any of us) have to be here. The advice you have been given is correct. If I were you, treat it that any benefits going into his account are at zero. Contact DWP asap. To become an Appointee is amazingly easy - especially compared to applying to become a Deputy! You get it all sorted in a very short space of time. What I did was I had a "spare" bank account that had nothing in it that I had my mum's benefits paid into. That way it was and is very clear that anything in or out of that account is for her. I think it was all done and sorted within a week. You are also best off starting with CoP as soon as you can as, like has been said, it takes a very long time to go through so the sooner you start it the better.

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