Visit from Pension Service

Discussion in 'ARCHIVE FORUM: Support discussions' started by Amanda1954, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Amanda1954

    Amanda1954 Registered User

    Nov 5, 2006
    Hi everyone. I've not posted for months as my mum has been really good and not seemd to get any worse for ages. However I am now starting to notice changes in her condition and I am needing to help out quite a bit more with planning meals, taking charge of all her paperwork, bills etc., managing her diary etc. so I am going over every day for an hour or two, plus some days taking her out shopping etc as she is only allowed to drive the short distance to the next village for shopping (on the advice of her AD consultant).

    Tomorrow we have a visit from the Pension Service so that they can see if she is getting everything she is entitled to. I should say that we did not instigate this visit, it has come from them.

    Does anyone have any tips on what my mum may be entitled to? She is 81, diagnosed Alzehimer's Disease around 18 months ago, and currently receives her state pension and a private pension, nothing else. Any advice would be very welcome.
  2. Kate P

    Kate P Registered User

    Jul 6, 2007
    She may be entitled to Attendance Allowance (in fact I'd be astonished if she isn't) and dependant on her savings and amounts of pension she may also be entitled to a form of Pension Credit. If she is entitled to Guaranteed Credit that will mean she no longer needs to pay Council Tax or Housing Benefit.

    Even if she is not entitled to Pension Credit she may still qualify for a further discount on her Council Tax as she has dementia but I imagine she would already be receiving a discount from living alone so I don't know whether she would qualify for a further discount.

    If you haven't registered POA over your mum yet you may wish to consider them taking appointeeship action for you wich means that you can deal with the DWP over your mum's beenfit affairs only. You would need to be present for them to take that action.

    I hope they're helpful for you.
  3. BeverleyY

    BeverleyY Registered User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Ashford, Kent
    After going through Dad's accounts with a toothcomb last night, I realised he isn't receiving Attendance Allowance. I phoned today to make a claim, and 10 mins later the woman phoned me back and said he was given an entitlement two and a half years ago..! It appears they made two payments, then shifted to the Pensions Service and it fell into a black hole. It looks as though he is due 2 years and 4 months payments!

  4. 117katie

    117katie Guest

    I agree with Kate that your Mum should almost certainly be able to claim Attendance Allowance. When I began handling my Aunt's affairs, I didn't even have to ask for it - it came automatically, based on whatever conversation went on between me and the Pension Service representative. I was also made her Appointee for Pension Affairs too, which meant that I could make all the necessary phone calls and complete any application forms required, sending, if required, a photocopy of the document from Pension Service as confirmation of my appointeeship. Never had any problems with that at all. And much of it was initiated by the person I met from Pension Service.

    When you have the meeting, it might be worth having a copy of your Mum's birth certificate available, plus a copy of your own, because that's what we had to supply in person at the meeting with the representative from the Pension Service. Purely as identification and proof of our relationship. They filled in a form at the time, with bits of info added by me/us, and it all went smoothly. Signed, and that was it. So might be worth phoning in advance of your meeting just to suggest that he/she from Pension Service is able to bring with them whichever form(s) they may require to be completed, for whatever they think you may be able to do to assist your Mum. (Can't remember which now, but I think that, following on from my initial phone call with her, she came with forms ready for completion and signature.) But basically, they were wanting to suss out me, to see what kind of a relationship I had with my Aunt, namely whether I was likely to steal everything out of her bank account without her knowledge, and to make sure that she trusted me 100 per cent, which was no problem! She said to them "I'd trust her with my everything" and I have never forgotten that!! It does give you powers over her money, and over all of the benefits she may be entitled to receive, so I applaud them for that caution.

    Our meeting was very cordial, and civilised, and professional, as were each of my many phone calls thereafter to both the Pension Service itself, and to the departments dealing with her attendance allowance, and some other pension-top-up the name of which escapes me at the moment. May have been another Disability Allowance that I never even knew existed.

    Hope your meeting will be as positive in outcome as ours was.

    Good wishes to you and your Mum
  5. Amanda1954

    Amanda1954 Registered User

    Nov 5, 2006
    Thanks Kate & Katie for your helpful replies. It's very encouraging. We were sent a letter about the meeting and told to have ID ready so I've done that. I also rang and told them that I have POA for my mum so they are going to make me appointee (have I used the right word?)at the meeting.

    I wondered if she should get Attendance Allowance so am pleased that this looks likely. I wonder if they back date it? A bit cheeky, but worth asking I suppose!

    Beverley, I hope your dad gets his back-dated. If he was entitled to it then I reckon he should. Good luck!

    I'll let you know how I get on. So far I'm quite impressed with the service as the letter came out of the blue. I was going to contact the DWP just to see if she was entitled to anything else but they pipped me to the post!

  6. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    Good grief Beverley - that's a bit of a windfall! Makes you wonder doesn't it? Funnily enough something similar happened to my mother - after a couple of payments SOP seems to be to transfer it so it's paid in a lump sum with the pension and that seems to be where the problem arises. I knew what was supposed to be happening so I was able to follow it up immediately.

    Just to clarify - if you live alone you can get the council tax rebate (or whatever it's called) for dementia - my mother had this which meant she didn't pay any council tax at all. Only fair really, she didn't get any services from them (not even rubbish collection - that was in the hands of a private contractor).
  7. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #7 Margarita, Feb 4, 2008
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008

    when they came around to our home , I had already claim attendance allowance , pension credit man , ask me if mum was claiming attendance allowance, because if so they then can clime a higher rate of the pension credit .

    The hight rate on pension credit stops if the person that looking after them claims carer allowance .

    Yes that what its all about

    also they come around to make ssure your mother lives at that address , if you have not got birth certificate, driving
    license or passport will do . also proof of address that the person living they , eclectic bill, Council Tax bill .
  8. 117katie

    117katie Guest


    Think positive - yes, they are coming to check that your Mum lives where she says she lives, and that you and she are who you say you are, and that you and she have a reasonably good relationship! Sure, they are also checking for possible fraudulent claims. Good! I can only hope that they check up on a few more, because then there would be more coins in the pot to share out amongst those who genuinely deserve and need support. (Which doesn't mean that everyone in need will necessarily get their due share, I know!)

    Expect the unexpected: he/she may possibly surprise you with their helpfulness, as in our case. She even followed up our meeting with several phone calls making very helpful suggestions of things I had not so far thought of. And gave me her direct line phone number which I phoned a couple of times for even more advice. So I can only say that she made a genuinely honest, and most helpful assessment in our case, with no negatives whatsoever.

    All in all, a very positive and constructive meeting.

    Which is what I wish you for your meeting tomorrow.

  9. BeverleyY

    BeverleyY Registered User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Ashford, Kent
    He is entitled, and it did start. It just seems there internal systems then let them down. Mum probably never realised it had stopped so never hassled them.

    As the entitlement is there, they will have to give him the payments they have forgotten. You can't claim back dated ones for being sick before you start claiming (if that makes sense), but this is different. He claimed, they started to pay, then they messed it up.

    Fingers crossed they sort it soon.

  10. Clive

    Clive Registered User

    Nov 7, 2004
    You never get Attendance Allowance paid before the day you ring and request the Attendance Allowance claim form.

    Attendance Allowance is only paid six months after a person has needed the appropriate amount of help.

    When you fill in the Attendance Allowance Form it asks you to state when the person being claimed for first required help. In your case your mum has required help for more than six months so you must make sure you put a date more than six months ago, (assuming that is true).

    You just have to be careful not to inadvertently write in today’s date, or give today’s date to the person filling in the form.

  11. jenniferpa

    jenniferpa Volunteer Moderator

    Jun 27, 2006
    The point is Amanda that when you make the application for attendance allowance it is worthwhile (if it's at all possible to do it honestly) to state that this need for this level of help has been onging for at least 6 months - which in your case would mean from at least the beginning of August 2007.
  12. Helena

    Helena Registered User

    May 24, 2006
    When you complete the forms for Attendance allowance BE VERY SURE to state worse case scenario ........only quote what help is needed on bad days ..........its the extremes of help and problems that are important
  13. alfjess

    alfjess Registered User

    Jul 10, 2006
    south lanarkshire
    Hi Amanda

    I think your Mum should be entitled to council tax exemption, due to mental impairment. Or is this only relevant in Scotland?

    She should at the very least get attendance allowance.

    Good Luck
  14. Margaret W

    Margaret W Registered User

    Apr 28, 2007
    North Derbyshire
    The Ten Point Lesson in Benefits!

    Dear all,

    What did I press that made me lose everything?

    Nice to see so many well-informed people. Thought I would just summarise it all into one email, please correct me if wrong or add to it if I have missed anything. I am talking over 65s, not sure if any of this applies to younger persons.

    It turned out to be Eleven Points!

    1. Most people with AD will be classed by the council as "severely mentally impaired" and get a complete council tax "Disregard" if living alone. Not sure if not living alone.

    2. Most people with AD will qualify for some level of Attendance Allowance, the highest rate is £64.50 for day and night care needed. THINK. Does your relative try to wander? Does she need reassurance in the night? Does she need a flask of tea? Does she ever phone you in the night? Think of the worst day, not the average.

    3. Attendance Allowance is tax free and not means-tested.

    4. Clive, not sure about the statement that you cannot get it before you apply. Bow to your better knowledge. But they do have to have needed care for 6 months before they will pay it. THINK HARD. When did mum first go to the doctor? When did she first show signs of not being able to count her money at the supermarket and you had to do it for her? Let's not be daft, some of it could be just "old age" but if she is now diagnosed with dementia, it was due to dementia. Put the earliest reasonable date that you can. Or maybe it wasn't you helping her, but a neighbour. Amanda, it is not a bit cheeky at all, you get precious little help from the government for all the thousands you pay in, you are ENTITLED to it.

    5. Getting AA may entitle your relly to "Guarantee Pension Credit", and if already getting it, could be a higher rate. If they are also entitled to some "Savings credit" you will find that goes up too, cos they don't make the normal deduction of 40p in the pound for savings above a certain amount. Mum ended up with an extra £48 a week.

    6. Getting Guarantee Credit entitles them to free dental treatment, or at least to some extent. Not gone down that route yet.

    7. Getting Guarantee Credit is usually for a fixed period - an "Assessed Income Period", which means you don't have to tell them about any changes in income during that time - which can be as long as 5 years.

    8. Be prepared for several contradictory letters - she is/is not/is/is not entitled. Be prepared for the three departments - DWP, AA, Pension Credit to fail to communicate with one another. Be prepared for lots of phone calls (they seem to respond better to phone calls than to letters), and be prepared for lots of forms to fill in that are largely unintelligible.

    9. Even if you have POA, the DWP will want to register you as an Apppointee to deal with you rather than your relly. That sometimes entails a visit to you, and to your relly. I argued against it as I had POA and I thought it would upset my mum if they visited. They agreed to that. Once I got their agreement I had no problem (except they sent her Winter Fuel Payment to the wrong address). Oh, and get the address on record changed to yours.

    10. Be prepared for them to make mistakes. Mum was granted AA, they paid a backdated lump sum of a useful £600 (paid for 9 days in the care home!), paid it for two weeks direct into her account - then stopped! No advance warning, no later warning, it wasn't till I checked her bank statement to make sure there was enough for the next month's fees that I realised there had been no AA for 4 weeks! 10 phone calls told me it had not been approved (I had the confirmation letter in front of me), she was not entitled to it and what we had been paid would have to be Re-paid, it was a mistake and would be rectified immediately, it was not a mistake and DWP said the AA people had told them to stop paying it, "on what grounds?" I ask, we don't know, we havent got the paperwork here. Paperwork?

    11. If in a care home and self-funding, all the above applies. If in a care home and NOT self-funding AA is not payable. It is also not payable for certain periods if in hospital. I think it is only payable for the first four weeks while in hospital, then it stops.

    Hope this helps to summarise.

  15. Robert Feeney

    Robert Feeney Registered User

    Feb 17, 2009
    Getting a person's cooperation

    My mother-in-law has been diagnosed as being in the first stages of Altimeters. I would like to arrange a visit from the pensions Service and get myself set up as an Appointee to manage soem of her finances (there is no question of Power of Attorney at this stage). However she is very reluctant to concede control over any of her affairs. This makes it exraemely difficult to provide the Direct Payjmnenst Service with her income/expenditure detauils in which case she may have to pay for the care she recives. I also want to ensure she gets all the benefits that are due.

    If anyone has a similar experience and/or can offer advice it would be very welcome.

    Robert Feeney
  16. Margarita

    Margarita Registered User

    Feb 17, 2006
    #16 Margarita, Feb 17, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2009

    What level of understanding does your, Mother in law have about the symptoms of AZ in what it does to a person in the future when it all progresses?

    Being someone appointee does not mean that the person lose full control over their finances , the money still paid into their back account they can still collect their money from the bank, your just there in case thing go wrong when they need more support as it all progresses .

    May be you tell her it that way , your mother in law won’t feel she losing total control of her finances?
  17. Robert Feeney

    Robert Feeney Registered User

    Feb 17, 2009

    Thanks Margarita, I will try to talk to her about the Appointee idea, the one difficulty is, and this refers to your first comment, she is in denial of AZ. She was a district nurse for many years and believes she knows better about her condition than any Doctor or Psychiatrist, however some symptoms are becoming more obvious. I should have explained that she has several disabilities. She is 87, almost blind, has spondylitus, uses a walking frame and has urinary incontinence. Despite all this she amazingly denies dependency and dominates conversations!

    You are right - there is no alternative but to try and discuss matters with her. She will not even broach such subjects with her daughter or son. At least I have the benefit of not being a direct relative.


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