Being an appointee – part 2

By Meike Beckford, Financial Advocacy Manager for Dosh


Here at Dosh, we’ve been thinking about what it means to be an appointee for someone’s benefits. In part 1, we talked about the basics of what you have to do as an appointee. Now, we are going to give you some tips, as well as some warnings, about how to avoid problems and be a successful appointee.





Check they are on the right benefits!

Don’t assume that the job centre or previous appointee has it all right. The benefits system is complicated and changes over time, as do the person’s circumstances, so what was right 5 years ago, may no longer be the best option. One of the most common changes we see missed is moving out of hospital or residential care – if the person moves into their own home, the family home or ‘supported living’, they can get more benefits than when they were in a care home. They won’t get these automatically though; you need to apply for them.

  • Care component of DLA or PIP. This is not paid if they are in a care home or hospital, so you need to tell the benefits centre when they move out so they can start payments for this.
  • Once you have this, you can then apply for the Severe Disability Premium on ESA. Speak to the benefits centre about applying for this as soon as they move (or ask for your application to be back-dated if they moved a while ago). There are lots of rules about who is eligible for this, so we can’t guarantee they’ll get it, but it’s definitely worth applying.
savings Report savings

If someone isn’t very active and likes a simple life at home, it’s easy for their savings levels creep up. DWP won’t always ask you to report their savings, so you need to keep an eye on them and report them when they go over £6,000 (for working age means-tested benefits) or £10,000 (for pension age means-tested benefits). The DWP usually finds out eventually and if they’ve been overpaying they will take the money back, so it’s best to stay up-to-date. It also avoids you getting a £50 civil penalty for not reporting.

post Respond to letters

For example requests for savings information or an invitation to apply for PIP. The person’s benefits will often get suspended if the DWP doesn’t get an answer and it is a lot harder to sort out afterwards.

appointee Check who is actually appointee

If you are the official appointee, you should receive the benefits letters directly and you should be able to contact the DWP without the person having to give you permission each time. If you are not sure if you are appointee (or someone else is), ask for a BF57 – this is the form that the DWP send when you become appointee. Making sure it is official makes it easier to manage the person’s benefits and makes it clear who is responsible for dealing with the claim.

Be confident about appealing decisions

With the volume of benefit applications and complicated rules the DWP deals with, it’s not surprising that mistakes and misunderstandings happen. If you’re not sure about the person’s benefit award, ask questions and get more information to make sure it is right. Speak to the benefits or job centre, look online, use a benefits calculator or get advice from your local Citizens Advice Bureau or Local Authority.

Car Use a Motability car effectively 

Motability cars are a way for people on the higher / enhanced mobility rate of DLA or PIP to lease a vehicle, with adaptations if they need them. They can be a great way to help people get out and about, but at a cost of £58 per week, it’s important to make sure they are right for that person. Think about how much they are using their car – if it’s only one journey a week to the supermarket, would a taxi be cheaper? Also make sure they are the ones using it and getting the benefit, as it is their benefit money that is paying for it.

Pay their fair share of joint costs

This can go either way, with some people paying nothing for fear of getting it wrong, and others paying for a whole group. Common sense should rule here – if they go for a group meal, they should pay for their share and if they are living in a shared house with family or friends they should contribute to bills and food they use. As a rule of thumb, what would you be happy someone doing with your money?

Acting on the person’s behalf

Dealing with other companies can be tricky, as appointees are only authorised by the DWP – it is not the same as Power of Attorney or Deputyship so you don’t have authority to manage their bank accounts, mortgage or tenancy agreements. That being said, you are responsible for spending the person’s money for them, for example to pay their bills. If you need to deal with a particular company, explain your role and ask to speak to their disability or vulnerable customer team who may have more experience in this area. If they require evidence, you can send your BF57 to show you are appointee and if you have problems, you may wish to speak to your local Citizens Advice Bureau or other advice centre.


Appointeeship is a great way to ensure that people who can’t manage their own benefits still get the money they need to live their lives.

We hope these simple tips will help you stay on top of your role and be confident in managing their money.

If you would like further information, read our appointeeship factsheet, or contact us to discuss a Money Check (for individuals) or Consultancy (if you are an organisation acting as appointee).

January 18th, 2018

Posted In: News and Blogs

Tags: , , , ,

Prepaid Funeral Plans – the pros and cons

From Maddy Hubbard, our Financial Advocate in the North West

Around 1.3 million people in the UK have bought prepaid funeral plans, based on the promise that they are fixing their funeral costs at today’s prices. Dosh supports many people who choose to buy funeral plans, so we wanted to do some more research into the pros and cons. Are people getting a good deal?

The positives of a funeral plan are that you can negotiate exactly the arrangements you want and pay for them now, protecting your loved ones from rising costs and ensuring that you get the funeral you choose. In the event of your death without a prepaid plan, it could take some time to arrange for money to be released to pay for funeral costs. Instead of having to deal with this hassle, your loved ones can contact a named Funeral Director who will already know your wishes and have arrangements in place.

That all sounds positive, so what are the cons? One consumer body recently investigated the sector and claimed that tens of thousands of people could be paying huge sums in agency fees and their families may be left out of pocket in the event of their death. Fairer Finance has argued for stronger regulation (see their report here), as some providers could go bust and leave people with no funeral at all. Also, lots of plans don’t cover certain types of costs such as council fees for grave digging, which can increase significantly over time and still leave large costs to be paid when you pass away.

Given these concerns, when buying a funeral plan you should look for a provider that is registered with the Funeral Planning Authority (FPA). That will give you more protection as providers which sign up have to agree to a Code of Conduct and you can report them if something goes wrong. Being part of the FPA doesn’t guarantee your money is safe, but if the provider fails then other members are part of an agreement to try and provide the service you have paid for.

Another question to ask is how much you are paying in agency fees, as you might find that a large proportion of some plans is going to middle men rather than towards paying for the funeral itself. Check that the plan includes all the things you want, including burial or cremation costs, a headstone or coffin, transport, Funeral Director fees and make sure you know which extras aren’t included and will still need to be paid for.

Finally, even if you are choosing a reputable provider you need to think if a funeral plan is the right thing for you. A funeral plan is a significant expense, often between £2,500 and £4,000, which you are choosing to pay now rather than have taken from your estate when you die. There may be other things you have to choose not to do in order to afford one, such as missing out on a holiday or on enjoying your money whilst you are alive. It’s important to remember that even if you die without enough money for a funeral, your loved ones can get a Funeral Payment from the state to cover basic funeral costs, so a funeral plan isn’t the only option.

Prepaid Funeral Plans can be a great choice which save people money and ensure that their wishes are followed, but before choosing one it’s important that you understand the pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. If you have more questions or want to explore if a funeral plan might be right for you then talk to your Financial Advocate.

September 28th, 2017

Posted In: News and Blogs

Tags: , ,