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Carers UK Forum • Advice re benefits/adapting home/elderly person
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Advice re benefits/adapting home/elderly person

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 1:26 pm
by Penny
Hi - don't know where to start - feel like I'm swimming against a tide here. I am a carer for my daughter with learning diffs. My elderly Mum (83) lives alone but I'm also helping her out more & more (but not paid) My Dad died last year & since then I've been helping her deal with paperwork, bills etc. She owns her own house (ex council) and lives alone.

After Dad died a lovely man came out from one of the agencies - went through all her financial stuff and arranged for her to get Pension Credit. She also gets DLA I'm sure. She is due to go in hospital soon and have a new knee because she has been in agony. The Occupational Therapist said she needed the bathroom adapting because she can no longer get her leg over the bath and she would see about her having a "wet room" made, with shower etc. Mum has had a phone call to say that a person from the council wants to come soon & see the last 2 bank statement before finalising the bathroom adaptions.

Does anybody know if there are limits you must have to be eligible for such things. She has only her benefits coming in but I am worrying now in case she has gone over what she should. She certainly didn't have enough last summer because she was able to get Pension Credit. Since Dad died she is buying less food and obviously there are things like petrol, car tax and insurance which is not having to be paid (because the car has gone) she is also used to budgeting on not much money so she doesn't waste it.

I obviously don't want to fiddle anybody and neither does Mum but we are expecting a bill for about £750 for Dad's headstone soon and the front door is rotten and we were going to have a UPVC one which I guess will be several hundred and we were also going to look at prices of stairlifts because she finds getting up/down stairs to bed & bath very painful. She'll also need this when she comes out of hospital. That will be a big expense too. I don't want them to think she has loads of money!!

I am sick with worry today that they might not allow her improvements and even stop her pension credit. How does it work? Are your financial affairs reviewed annually or something? I keep thinking if I had been more organised we could have gone out and bought all those things I mentioned and which she really does need and she would not have that money in the bank. Help ... I don't know if I'm coming or going. Image

This probably makes no sense at all and I apologise in advance!

Hi Penny, sounds like you could

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 2:11 pm
by Guest
Hi Penny,

sounds like you could do with some detailed advice. I suggest you ring our CarersLine which is open Wed and thursdays 10-12 and 2-4 0808 808 7777.

Best wishes.

Just to reassure you in

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:05 pm
by Guest
Just to reassure you in the meantime about the Pension Credit, my understanding is that if your mother has Guaranteed Pension Credit with an Assessed Income Period (AIP), during the Assessed Income Period, usually I believe five years, the Pension Credit will not be effected by any savings even if they go above the savings limits. Obviously once the Assessed Income Period is over and her Pension Credit is re-assessed any savings above the limits will be taken into account and she'd get a reduced level of Pension Credit from then on based on the new assessment. The rules for the Pension Savings Credit are different.

It sounds from your post as though the person who's visiting your mother from the council is doing a financial assessment to see how much, if anything, your mother can afford to contribute towards the cost of the wet room, i.e. it's DFG-related and has nothing to do with the Pension Credit. DFGs for children have not been means-tested for some time but they are for adults.

I do sympathise with your situation regarding the paperwork for your mother following your father's death, I care for my husband and was in the same situation almost two years ago when my father died, it's a lot of responsibility especially when you already have so much responsibility for the person you care for and, of course, your time is limited which doesn't help. It does get easier believe me.

Annie

Thank you so much Gavin

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:37 pm
by Penny
Thank you so much Gavin - I will ring that number. I live several miles from my Mum and all paperwork is at her house at the mo.

Annie - thank you also. I am going to print your words off & read it again too. I'm one of those people who still find reading paper easier than reading a screen! Image What is DFG?

I was amazed at all the paperwork and phone calls I've done - Mum calls me her "personal secretary" Image Image I keep thinking "that must be the lot now" and then there's more!! I don't mind doing it one bit but I've had a few days "stroppy behaviour" from daughter and then today it was all my fault because someone did not turn up to collect her today. Then we had problems with new car. Hubby has been feeling ill and had bad news about a niece. I needed to also get this clear in my head about best way forward with this woman coming to see Mum. Mum wants me to go over for that too and then DD probably won't want to come with me but will not be happy being alone here! I tell you I can't win some days!!

I said to my Mum a while ago about ordering a new front door and stairlift. But she has had a lot to cope with losing Dad and also not feeling well herself and she keeps saying "we'll see to that another day". I find it quite hard getting the balance right when trying to help out. You don't want to take over completely do you ... but when she asks me something and I tell her what I think is the right thing to do and then she doesn't do it, I feel I could have used my time better. Image

I am also quite worried about her going into hospital and how she'll cope when she goes home. If I could click my fingers and make it all happen I would have that bathroom all sorted NOW and also the stairlift in and working.

Apologies to anyone for running on but this last few days have been quite horrible. Image

Hi Penny A DFG is a

Posted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:44 pm
by Guest
Hi Penny

A DFG is a grant administered by the local council to pay for adaptations to a property to provide the facilities necessary for a disabled person. It's not clear whether your mother's bathroom is being adapted through a DFG or whether social services is funding it, the way things are done seem to vary between local authorities and between tenures.

Have you considered phoning the person who's coming to visit your mother to find out what the purpose of the visit is or does your mother have any correspondence relating to the visit? The person concerned may not be willing to talk to you without your mother's consent so it's probably best done from her home (I even get this with my husband, he has to give his permission for me to speak to people on my behalf, data protection is an excellent idea but sometimes it makes life more complicated than it needs to be Image .)

I can really relate to your difficulties in dealing with your mother's affairs, it's so difficult to find the balance between helping and taking over and, because my circumstances, like yours, prevented me dealing with things when I wanted/needed to, I felt quite guilty on occasions about the amount of time I was taking. I'm sure your mother understands. And I think people are very protective of their independence when they lose someone so when, despite asking our opinion, they go off and do something entirely different I think it's quite understandable, it's the transition between being interdependent as half of a couple and independent as a person livng alone. Having been something I dreaded, my mother's list of thing to ask about is shrinking to a couple of items at the most, you'll get there in the end.

Discharge from hospital is a minefield, it too varies across the country, with a bit of luck your mother will be assessed before discharge by a social worker and some care put in place if she doesn't already have a social worker and she's willing, if she's anything like my mother she'll go home determined to manage somehow, it's not just the list I dread Image Image .

I hope that things improve, it can get quite overwhelming at times, too much to do, too many responsibilities and too little time and energy to deal with it all, somehow we seem to cope and when we look back we wonder how we managed but we did.

Good luck,

Annie

Hi! DFG - Disabled facilities

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 7:21 am
by chmaja
Hi!

DFG - Disabled facilities grant.

Hope the help already given will mean you can get things sorted out asap.

Chris

Thanks for your relies. It

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:57 am
by Penny
Thanks for your relies. It helps just knowing someone is listening. Image

I have spoken to the person at local council and she needs to see copies of last 2 bank statements so am meeting her at Mum's in a few days. As I understand from her if the council agree to undertake the work (which OT says needs doing) they need to see what contribution (if any) Mum will have to make.

It seems that even if it all goes ahead, it will not be done before Mum's op, which is a shame but she explained it takes time for jobs to go to tender etc.

Apparently Mum is on Savings Pension Credit. I still don't know how much money you are allowed to have and I just hope that Mum has not gone over limit. I also hope that if she has this woman will understand that we have some big expenses to pay soon.

Thanks again and will let you know how we go on in case anybody else is in same situation.

Don't worry, Penny, the person

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 11:17 am
by Guest
Don't worry, Penny, the person from the council will only be looking at your mother's savings for the purposes of determining whether and how much she can contribute to the adaptation. But, for peace of mind, perhaps you can persuade your mother to start the ball rolling for the other jobs, if she's saving for them perhaps it would be best if she had each job done and paid for as soon as she can afford to, you wouldn't have to worry about savings limits then.

Annie

Thanks SO much Annie. I've

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:49 pm
by Penny
Thanks SO much Annie. I've been out shopping (only groceries) and DD was OK today. Usually go to Mum's today or take her out but I felt so stressed I just rang her instead.

I have calmed down a bit & realise that I've done my best - so if the council lady comes and says Mum has to pay or pay a part of it, then she does. I will also write down the expenses that Mum has got to pay for soon and see what she says.

Whatever happens, I am going to encourage her to get the jobs done that need doing and pay for them straight from her bank account in future.

Had a phone call to

Posted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:58 pm
by Penny
Had a phone call to say that all the work can be done and Mum won't have to contribute anything. So that's a relief! It won't be done for some time though and definitely not before her op. so now we have another lady coming out soon to see what can be done in the interim.

I have to say a BIG thank you to everyone on here for listening to my moanings .... some days things just get TOO much and you need to off-load a bit. Today its been DD pestering again as soon as I got up and I could easily have just got back in bed and forgot everything!

Then I feel awful because I know there are LOADS of people on here with much more to worry about than an elderly Mum and a special needs daughter. Sometimes my brain just needs a rest from organising, planning and sorting things out. I said to my DD today "just let me have a little while with an empty head". Well it made sense to me!! Image Image