You can apply for the right to deal with the benefits of someone who can’t manage their own affairs because they’re mentally incapable or severely disabled.
Only 1 appointee can act on behalf of someone who is entitled to benefits (the claimant) from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
An appointee can be:
- an individual, eg a friend or relative
- an organisation or representative of an organisation, eg a solicitor or local council
As an appointee you’re responsible for making and maintaining any benefit claims. You must:
- sign the benefit claim form
- tell the benefit office about any changes which affect how much the claimant gets
- spend the benefit (which is paid directly to you) in the claimant’s best interests
- tell the benefit office if you stop being the appointee eg, the claimant can now manage their own affairs
If the benefit is overpaid, depending on the circumstances, you could be held responsible.
Apply to become an appointee
Who you phone to apply to depends on the benefit:
DWP arranges to visit the claimant to assess if an appointee is needed.
DWP interviews you to make sure you’re a suitable appointee.
During the interview, you and the interviewer fill out an appointee application form (Form BF56)
If DWP agrees with the application you’ll be sent Form BF57 (confirming you’ve been formally appointed to act for the claimant). You’re not the appointee until this happens.
Once you’re authorised, DWP will monitor the situation to make sure it’s still suitable for you and the claimant.
Stop being an appointee
Contact DWP immediately if you want to stop being an appointee. Phone the benefit office that deals with the claim - the number will be on any letters they’ve sent you.
Your appointment can be stopped if:
- you don’t act properly under the terms of the appointment
- the claimant is clearly able to manage their own benefits
- you become incapable yourself - let DWP know immediately