Attendance allowance and deputyship

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Does anyone have any advice or experience of the following situation - we would be grateful for any comments/help.

My mother has advanced dementia. My sister and I started sharing caring for her when our Dad died end 2013 (he was her unregistered/unpaid carer till then) though it is only me that actually lives with her. Mum is in receipt of Attendance Allowance but neither of us can claim Carers Allowance as we don't meet the criteria. My sister had to give up her job to help care for Mum as her employer would not let her work part time, whereas mine did allow me to and I therefore am still earning. We agreed between us ie me and my sister that my sister would receive the Attendance Allowance for her caring duties. We have only just been granted COP Deputyship after a year and a half due to a useless solicitor. When I had my first discussion with the OPG today to prepare for what accounts should be evidenced, I was informed that we should not be taking this allowance as we are her deputies. But the allowance notes clearly state that Mum can use it to pay for care, help around the home etc and my sister is not taking it as a deputy expense but as a carer. There is no way either Mum or Dad would have wanted either of us to effectively have no income just for looking after one or the other.

Is it definitely correct that as a deputy (or even not a deputy but just a family member) neither of us can be paid this allowance as a carer from Mum and that it can only be paid to a hired individual or agency? We aren't trying to defraud her only ensure that my sister has some form of income for her caring duties. She cannot increase her hours due to other commitments and has run down her savings to pay her mortgage. If she now has no income of any sort we may have to consider Mum going into a home as my sister won't be able to continue with the current arrangement.

It just seems so unfair!

Thanks

C
For a definitive answer, ring the Carers UK helpline. For what it's worth, I think OPG are wrong! Your mum should be entitled to AA (are you aware that mum is exempt from Council Tax on the grounds of "severe mental impairment"?) It is highly likely that your sister can claim CA, and depending on her savings might also be entitled to other income related benefits. Mum should also have a "Needs Assessment" from Social Service, and a "package of care", i.e. 3 carers a day, or whatever her assessed need. SSD can give you "Direct Payments" instead, which could possibly go to either of you. However, since OPG are involved, it is really important that you do exactly the right thing, so ring CUK's helpline.
AA can pay for anything, household bills, heating bills, rent, meals out, chiropody, whatever is best for the recipient, and when people are sharing a household, who is counting slices of bread or teabags?
Thanks for the responses. Will definitely ring CarersUK when I get a chance, I just didn't know who would be the best to ask.

No question that Mum is due the allowance and I arranged it as soon as I could after Dad died, no problem with that. The question is whether we can give it to my sister as income for being her part time carer. The OPG says definitely not because my sister is a deputy. For info for anyone who isn't a deputy, you have to submit a yearly report on all income and outgoings and everything has to go in the right boxes and have receipts to back it up. This is why I asked the OPG as I didn't know which outgoings box it had to go in and because obviously there would be no receipt unless we just get my sister to make a statement each year. I can't put it in the day-to-day outgoings as they still need receipts especially when you consider the amount involved.

By the by, Mum is a self funder and is not entitled to any financial help other than the Attendants Allowance. We've had very little help from SSD because of this, even those questions I did ask at the beginning they didn't bother to come back to me on, and we just get a yearly visit from a community nurse. As stated previously, neither of us can claim Carers Allowance as we don't meet the criteria.
PS forgot to say, that yes council tax already sorted and backdated but only recently as no-one actually told us we could register for this (which includes a reduction for me as I live her and am her carer. I found out as a fluke.
If mum is self funding, why can't she employ your sister on a formal basis? I do hope CUK can sort this one out for you. After all, if mum was of sound mind she could employ you, and also she could give you each £3,000 a year tax free, counted as a gift. Are you and your sister sole beneficiaries in mum's will?
Not sure about using the formal employment route as sounds like a lot of paperwork and red tape especially due to the new rule on pension provision. Also isn't the £3000 pa gift rule that she must survive for 7 years to remain tax free or am I getting confused with something else? It would be better than nothing but I'm wondering if the OPG would view this as an excessive gift as it is way more than she has been gifting to date eg birthdays etc. Please can you expand on the beneficiary angle - we are the sole beneficiaries but how does this help us now rather than when she dies?
Thanks for responses to date
I hold Court of Protection for my mum and with the COP its a whole new board game and because of legislation some things are counterintuitive. All decisions have to be for the financial benefit of the person and you have to account for every penny
I think your sister has unwittingly fallen foul of the clause that says that a deputy must not profit from a decision they have taken. She has, in effect, used her mums money to pay herself and I think that this is how the OPG have viewed it. Unfortunately, with COP, the court holds the POA and the deputy has to abide by the courts decisions as overseen by OPG, so TBH I think it would be ill-advised to fight them. As money has already been paid from your mums account it might be a good idea to take legal advice.

BTW you cant gift money to third parties without OPG approval either. Mum had SO to several charities before dementia, but I have had to cancel them once I got COP deputyship.
I had no idea it was quite such a minefield. However, my own feeling is that it is definitely in mum's interests to have those she loves caring for her, rather than strangers. It is also in her interest to pay the standard amount to her daughters, to make this possible, rather than pay £1,000 per week to a nursing home, which she would need due to advanced dementia. There are many "hard and fast" rules promoted by underlings in organisations which, when you talk to more senior people, are not "hard and fast" at all. That was how CUK made me £50 per week better off. Definitely ask CUK's helpline first. Don't worry too much about the arrangements which would be required re tax etc., there are many payroll companies around who will do this. As you are the only beneficiaries, I would have thought that would have made things slightly easier, from a legal point of view. However, I know nothing about the rules and laws, so again, ask CUK. It would be interesting to know what they advise.
bowlingbun wrote:However, my own feeling is that it is definitely in mum's interests to have those she loves caring for her, rather than strangers.
That is undoubtedly true, but the COP is not for health and welfare - its for finances and there is very strict legislation. They would be able to pay professionals the same amount, but not themselves.