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Appointee Disputes and the DWP

Ryan Bradshaw
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Leigh Day, Manchester

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Total Posts: 110

Joined: 17 June 2010

My client is seeking to claim back money paid to her appointee after herself and the appointee terminated the agreement. Her appointee was her daughter who had put my client into a care home against her wishes!

The DWP continued to pay the appointee my client’s benefits 2 weeks after they were notified, by both parties, of the agreements termination. When I rang they said it was standard procedure for the appointee to continue receiving payments until their system is updates (which can take a month apparently!). I have sent a letter to them asking for the directions, statute or memo that this procedure is based upon as it seems ridiculous that in the event of a dispute the appointee can continue to receive money not due to him/ her as the DWP dithers while a vulnerable person suffers.

My client won’t take this to small claims but could really do with getting the money back. Any ideas.

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Welfare rights officer - Cornwall Council

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Joined: 22 June 2010

Refer to DWP Guide(Agents,Appointees , Attorneys + Deputies) , Part 5 , Paras 5303 to 5306 refer to changing an Appointee :
* .....If current Appointee no longer wishes to act ( NB : withdrawal can be made by phone or in writing) ...No other Appointee nominated….take following action :
- suspend payment of benefit unless benefit is being paid into the customer’s own account , then arrange for the existing bank account details to be removed from CIS
- contact social services as a matter of urgency
- follow up with BF56 action as appropriate
- send a BF58 to the ex-appointee

*Para 5400 refers to revoking an appointment - “When allegations of abuse are received it is essential that we react quickly. If there has been abuse then any delay will compound the problem. The S of S needs to be seen to be taking allegations seriously. His responsibility is to ensure that the benefit being paid to the appointee is being used for the benefit of the customer and if that is in question then he needs to take approriate action .”

I only refer to this to highlight the “urgency”  that the Guide seems to place around any actions that need to be taken when dealing with a change in appointee .

Would this not be a strong foundation to argue that DWP have not acted promptly as per their own guidance ?