What is an Appointee? Similar to Power of Attorney?

What is an Appointee.

Collecting benefits for a friend or relative.

Collecting benefits for a friend or relative.

An appointee is a person you wish to collect any benefits you are receiving. You can fill in a BF56 form (there is a link below) if you decide that you want someone to manage and collect your benefits for you.  Alternatively, get it from Jobcentre Plus, or the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for Older People. It is in no way a substitute for a Lasting Power of attorney though.

The BF56 form allows someone else you trust to manage and collect your benefits for you and help you access the funds. The person you choose, perhaps a friend or relative, will need to agree to be your appointee (or agent or nominated helper).

The person acting for you must follow the DWP guidelines. All money collected by the them must be used for the sole benefit of the person for whom they are acting.

Clearly, a Lasting Power of Attorney is far better in many circumstances.  LPAS give FAR wider powers.  However, we thought you should be aware of the facility to have one, at least for collecting benefits.  If the person concerned does not have mental capacity, things could get very sticky as you could end up acting illegally.  Check out Court of Protection Advice if there is any doubt.

Contact us HERE for questions on Lasting Powers of Attorney, Court of Protection advice, and Last Wills – but not on appointeeship!  Some people need help with claiming benefit because they can’t manage their own affairs. This could be because they’re mentally incapable or are severely disabled. If so, another person  can be given the legal right to act for them in this limited area.

How to decide if you’re an appointee.

You can only be an appointee if the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has appointed you to act on someone else’s behalf. This will have involved an interview and the completion of form BF56. If you have not done this then you’re not an appointee.

You won’t be made an appointee if someone is capable but just needs some general help managing or getting their benefit. Also, you won’t be appointed just because it seems the most convenient way of helping someone.

Your responsibilities as an appointee.

You take on the full responsibility for making and maintaining any claim and managing the spending of the benefit. This means that you:

  • sign the claim form instead of the person claiming benefits.
  • are responsible for telling the benefit office of any changes which may affect the amount of benefit the person getting benefit get.
  • have to claim any benefits to which the customer may be entitled.
  • must spend the benefit in the best interests of the customer – although paid to you the benefit is not yours to spend on yourself.
  • can be responsible for any overpayments, if you knowingly provide wrong information.

Applying to become an appointee for the first time.

To apply to act, you need to contact the DWP. Tell DWP that someone you know needs your help to either:

  • Claim benefit – because they can’t do it themselves.
  • Manage their existing benefit – because they can’t do it themselves.

The DWP will arrange to interview you and visit the customer. If they agree that the customer needs help and that you are suitable you will be formally appointed to act on the customer’s behalf. But ONLY so far as the benefits are concerned.

Payments: If you’re acting as an appointee, any benefit payments will be made to you.

Reviews: DWP will check your appointment regularly to make sure that it’s still the most suitable arrangement for you and the person you’re an appointee for.

When an appointment ends: An appointment will end if it is proved that you are not acting in the best interests of the customer. For more information about this use the following link