Appointee ship (managing customers’ finances, through budget planning )
An appointee-ship is where an individual or a representative of an organisation is nominated to claim a person’s benefits on their behalf and to notify the Department for Working Pension (DWP) of any changes in the person’s circumstances.
Appointee-ships are generally only appropriate where the person is unable to manage a benefit claim for his or herself by reason of mental incapacity, for example because they do not understand possible consequences of not providing the DWP with accurate information about their circumstances. Appointee-ships are not appropriate if the person only needs support to budget, manage debts or substance misuse or to collect money from bank or post office.
Recovery Support Ltd will act as an appointee for people where written consent is received from the local authority, service user and the family where applicable.
The manager of the service will act as a formal appointee on behalf of Recovery Support Ltd.
Procedure for Establishing an Appointee-ship
In order for Recovery Support Ltd to act as an appointee for a service user, they must ensure that they receive a formal request from the local authority to do so or the responsible individual or the service user and family where applicable.
If Recovery Support is able to undertake appointee responsibility, the nominated person will ensure that the financial consent form has been signed. They must ensure that the service user is aware of what the role of the appointee is, and that they will have less control over their finances if they are under appointee-ship.
The appointee will then complete a BF56 application for Appointee Form to be sent to the local DWP office. They will apply for Corporate Appointee-ship as a representative of Recovery Support, not as an individual. Recovery Support will reserve the right to change the nominated person. This will protect the customers in the event that the nominated person cannot be used (i.e. the appointee leaves the organisation, goes on leave, fraudulent activities is suspected). It also gives more transparency to the work of the appointee.
The DWP require supporting evidence that the person requires that level of support with their finances so a supporting letter should be sent with the form. It is helpful if this can be written by the customers’ care manager from statutory services.
An appointee is responsible for the following:
- Finding out what benefits or allowances a service user is entitled to
- Completing the necessary claim forms along with the statutory social worker or a care manager
- Receiving the payments of benefits or allowances
- Ensuring that the money is made available for food, payment of utility bills, rent and priority debts and paying these bills if appropriate
- Informing the relevant DWP Office about changes in circumstances (i.e. hospital admission, prison sentence etc.)
- Carrying out all instructions received about benefits
- Identifying over and under payments of benefits and informing the benefits office. Note that an appointee may be held to be personally responsible for repaying over paid benefits where the over payment has occurred because they have not provided the DWP with accurate information
- Ensuring that accurate and comprehensive records are kept of benefit, income and expenditure.
An appointee is not responsible for:
- For any savings not accrued from benefits, property or any other financial matters
- Where the service is able to make choices about how to spend their money, for deciding how the customers money should be spent, beyond ensuring that rent and bills are paid (to prevent homelessness) and that the service user has money available for food.
- Make applications for any welfare benefits.