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Joshua
Joshua, Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 26069
Experience:  LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice
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My mother wnet into full-time nursing care in June 2011. I

Resolved Question:

My mother wnet into full-time nursing care in June 2011. I reported this fact to the pension Service and, because the Local Authority financed her residential care, she was no longer entitled to Attendance Allowance. However.........to my dismay I have only just discovered that this payment has been continuing. Having telephoned the pension service I was reassured that it was 'highly likely' that inview of the fact that I had reported her change of circumstances inNovember of 2011 ( of which they have a record), I would only be required to pay back the Attendance Allowance received from June-November 2011; the error being on the part of the Pension Service.

QUESTION: In view of their admission of the error, is there any way in which they would be legally entitled to reclaim the money paid from 6/11 to date - in view of the fact that this is in the region of £80/week, that is a very alarming sum of money which neither i nor my mother possess?

Many thanks

Roger Marples
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Joshua replied 3 years ago.

Joshua :

Hello and thank you for your question. I will be very pleased to assist you. I'm a practicing lawyer in England with over 10 years experience.

Joshua :

may I clarify please whether your mother has any savings at all? If so, what I be right in thinking that the additional money that was received from the DWP will simply claimed by the local authority to contribute towards her care costs or is this not correct?

Customer:

My mother has about £4000 in savings . She was on income support until June 2011. The Local Authority pays the Nursing home, I pay a top up fee and the remainder is taken from her pension

Customer:

My apologies. I find this way of communicating very difficult to understand so have no idea if you received my reply to your question

Joshua :

Thanks - so these potential overpayments from DWP have they served to increase her savings pot or been claimed by the Local Authority for her care funding?

Customer:

The payments have, with her pension, been paid weekly into her bank account The Local Authority knew about her £4000 savings before she went in, and the savings are currently roughly that amount. They Authority has no knowledge of either the overpayment or her savings and has not asked anything about this since she went into care.

Customer:

I ought to add that I have power of attorney. My mother has advanced Alzheimer's

Joshua :

Thanks so to be clear, if the money has not added to her savings what have the payments actually been used for in practice? Has the money been spent on your mother or did the local authority claim the money as income to go towards care fees?

Customer:

No. Her house was not sold until 2013. Moneies were used on various repairs and refurbishment, clothes and shoes for her.

Joshua :

I see thank you.

Customer:

I was under the assumption that an old person is allowed up to £16,000 savings before money is deducted

Customer:

That is to say.................I assumed that even if my mother's savings increased from 4000 to 16000, her entitlements would not be affected

Joshua :

Its a little bit more complicated than that - The local authority would have a claim against any money in any accounts your mother maintains in her name and any other assets. If these combined sums total £23,350 or more the local authority has a claim against everything above that sum. Once your mothers capital reduces below £23,350, the local authority will begin contributing towards her care until her savings reach £14,250. After the savings reduce below £23,500 they will expect your mother to contribute 1 pound for every £250 of capital she has between £14,250 and £23,350. They would also have a claim against any money she receives as income except for some minor amounts that she is allowed to keep for her own spending requirements. After her savings reach £14,250, the council will fully fund her care without contribution from her at all.

Joshua :

In terms of repayment of the overpaid benefits the payments will generally be repayable if it is your mothers fault - e.g. she was being paid and ought to have known that this should not have been happening. If you have been dealing with her affairs this provision would include you (though you are not personally liable for any debt claimed). If on the other hand the overpayments were the fault of the benefits office in that you advised them of the change of affairs and they had all the information they required in order to decide to stop the payments but didn't and you did not realise that the payments should have bee stopped then there is a basis to appear any decision to request your mother to repay any overpayments.

Customer:

Am I correct in assuming that your feeling is that IN SPITE of the fact that the error is theirs (they were, after all informed of my mother's changed circumstances in 11/11), they might still have a legitimate claim on me? The council, at least so far, have no knowledge of the overpayment, only the pension Service. At no time did my mother's savings exceed £6000

Customer:

Thank you. Sorry......but the last two lines of your reply are not clear. ....'a basis............overpayments

Joshua :

Sorry for the typos. I will repost: If on the other hand the overpayments were the fault of the benefits office in that you advised them of the change of affairs and they had all the information they required in order to decide to stop the payments but didn't and you did not realise that the payments should have been stopped then there is a basis to appeal any decision to request your mother to repay any overpayments.

Joshua :

providing the DWP accept that you advise them of your mothers the circumstances say, they would need to demonstrate that you ought to have known that payments should not have been continued in order to claim a repayment from your mother. In no circumstances would you be personally liable to repay anything. If they ask you to repay payments made which you disagree with, it is important that you appeal the decision within one month of receiving the decision by contacting the DWP and requesting an appeal.

Joshua :

Is there anything above I can clarify for you any further?

Customer:

No. many thanks

Joshua :

A pleasure. Good luck with resolving the matter amicably. If I can assist any further as the situation develops please do no hesitate to let me know.

Joshua :

If you have no further questions for now I should be very grateful if you would kindly take a moment to rate my service to you today. Your feedback is important to me. If there is anything else I can help with though please reply back to me though.

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