Is it possible to get appointeeship revoked, so it is as if it was never granted?
A client has severe mental health problems. His mother is his appointee for PIP. He was sectioned and the hospital applied for and was granted appointeeship for UC.
The DWP’s guidance says that there can only be one appointee for all DWP benefits. They have not followed any of their procedures for investigating where an application for appointeeship is made, but there is already an appointee in place, and they have not revoked his mother’s appointeeship.
The hospital applied for UC on my client’s behalf. At that point he had a live but dormant ESA claim (he was held on remand for a few days before being transferred to hospital). The person who applied on his behalf has never met him. Did not know basic information such as the fact that he had a tenancy, even though the hospital was aware, so did not put down any housing costs. Did not know that he had a live and in payment HB claim, so now there is a £2500 overpayment. Did not know that his mother was his appointee, and did not inform his family that they had appointeeship. Has not got the LCWRA element added to his basic UC allowance, which he would have been entitled to from the start of his claim as he was in the support group for ESA (now 10 months since claim).
Is there any precedent for revoking appointeeship so that the UC claim becomes invalid and he can return to legacy benefits?
Its many years since I worked in a Mental Health Team but I wonder if the hospital was actually an appointee, if a patient was detained under the Mental Health Act the ‘Responsible Medical Officer’ (RMO) had wide powers over all the affairs of the patient and this might include a power to make a claim
I think this was contained in the 1983 Mental Health Act - its probably all changed now, (I think there were amendments to the MHA in 2007 or 2008) but if its broadly the same then the patient could challenge the RMO rather than DWP.
Never heard of such a thing when I was working in a psychiatric hospital, all benefit claims were made with patient’s consent and never without them knowing (except where there as an appointee in place of course).
The hospital is definitely the appointee with the DWP for UC. The hospital, the DWP and the claimant’s social worker have all confirmed this. The mother is the appointee for HB, ESA and PIP. The hospital and social worker have now asked his mother to relinquish her appointeeship, so that they can be the sole appointee.
TBH I feel a bit lost with this one. Both appointees have either done things wrongly or failed to do what they needed to do. The claimant has lost out financially both long term and short term as a result.
To try and assist the claimant would mean challenging the actions of both appointees and the DWP, and I would need permission of the appointees to challenge…..
Have a look at section 5400 (about revoking appointeeship) here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/771549/part-05-appointee.pdf
Have you spoken to the mother, and is she inclined to follow your advice as such? Unless she is capable of acting in your client’s best interest you’re stuck between a rock and hard place. Any chance the client can act in his own best interest, and avoid the need for an appointee at all?
You can consider a complaint to the NHS to stop the current efforts of the hospital to force themselves into an appointeeship - it’s not in line with their duties or responsibilities at all. They should have sought legal advice if they wanted to wrest it from the existing appointee - which if it was appropriate would have pointed them to the above guidance about revoking appointeeship, rather than asking the mother to relinquish it. Unless the mother is unsuitable there is no reason the hospital should want to take it on.
Aside from securing future income for your client, you might be able to consider a claim against the hospital to recover past losses. Bearing in mind that this might involve a commitment in time/effort your client wouldn’t be willing or able to take on.
If you can establish that this is a widespread issue affecting multiple patients it might be worthwhile to raise it with the local MP, in addition to the NHS itself.