Parent stealing disability benefits from my little sister

edited 25 September 2022 at 9:02AM in Benefits & tax credits
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rajdrajd Forumite
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edited 25 September 2022 at 9:02AM in Benefits & tax credits

Hi there team. 

Just to clarify the situation

The parent is my mother in law. 

The sister is my sister in law. She is autistic, 18, just gone to university!, and has received higher rate disability benefits for as long as I can remember. 

The mother divorced the father for a number of reasons but the main one being that he is autistic. Never diagnosed though.

The higher rate mobility was used to get a mobility car in 2019. Sister does not drive but wants to. Only over 25’s can drive this car. So even if she passed, she couldn’t have it. It is the only car the mother has. 

The mother does not work and hasn’t for many years. The father has always worked full time but lost his job in covid and started his own architectural company. He’s making ends meet but now has to pay for another house to live in while paying maintenance in the form of paying the mortgage of the house the mother and children live in. 

There is also a younger sister, 15, still living with her mother.


Right. So. 


Every time the subject is is brought up, the mother says she uses the payment s to pay for things. In truth she uses this to live off, for some bills, but also a lot for herself and holidays. Sister was even given  annual choices of experiences or goods from a special needs charity which the mother would chose or limit the options for what she wanted. Eg one year they went on holiday. The sister hates holidays but she was told it was the only option given. She is a gamer and could have had consoles or adventure days out which she would have preferred. 


So she has now gone to uni to doing game design. We’re all really proud, even though the mother said she wouldn’t get there and we shouldn’t get her hopes up! She’s gone and is a superstar.

She wants/needs her PIP for the things she needs. For example, she struggles with loud noises and needs new sound defenders. She needs clothes. She needs to get the taxi sometimes instead of busy buses. She needs yellow paper pads. 


When the sister turned 18 in March, she asked for it but was told it is rent.


Now she has left home, the mother is saying she is keeping the pip because she still has the little sister at home. She has got a part time job - advising people on special needs benefits! - but it doesn’t bring in much. 


On the face of it, it’s obvious she is stealing this money. Before I step in and stop this nonsense, causing a scene and arguement, I am looking for other voices to look at the situation and offer advice. 


It’s a really crappy situation and when the sister needs something, I help her. I can afford it but it isn’t the point. I’m not her parent. We have been tempted to just call the benefit service and change the bank details but fear what she will do and what she will do to the younger sister. Like making her go to work even though she is in her gcse year.


I’m in a tough spot as she isn’t my mother. If it was my blood, I’d put a stop to it. I’ve been in the family 13 years now but it’s still a tough situation. 


Also, what do we do about the mobility car? I know it’s on a contract, I assume for 5 years? It doesn’t seem she will get that money eitherway. 


Thanks for your time everyone that reads. 




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Replies

  • HampshireHHampshireH Forumite
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    I would get it changed over.

    Perhaps may be easier if the sister goes to student welfare on campus for support and they put the wheels in motion
  • rajdrajd Forumite
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    I would get it changed over.

    Perhaps may be easier if the sister goes to student welfare on campus for support and they put the wheels in motion
    That’s a good idea. Thank you. 

    I’d still have to navigate what happens when the money stops going into mothers account. Or are you saying the welfare officer might have that conversation with the mother? That would be good. 

    I’m also concerned that the mother will then manipulate the father to pay her more to make up for it. He already pays for more than he should e.g. he does the food shopping, takes the family dog out everyday, cleans the house, fills petrol, etc… 
  • edited 25 September 2022 at 9:23AM
    poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    edited 25 September 2022 at 9:23AM
    You won't be able to change any bank details unless you are her appointee. If her mother is her appointee then the PIP will be paid into her bank account and be responsible for her claim. PIP will not communicate with your sister in law, they will only communicate with the appointee.
     You can report her mother to PIP and tell them exactly what's happening.https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/removing-an-appointee/
    If she's unable to manage her own claim you can then become her appointee once her mother is removed.

  • hucksterhuckster Forumite
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    Is mother in law a registered appointee for the PIP claim ?

    I would suggest that your Sister contacts PIP to take over responsibility for the claim and registers that she wants to have payment made into her own Bank account.  Plenty of help out there.  University student welfare may be able to help with this or local Council welfare team or Citizens Advice. 
    The comments I post are personal opinion. Always refer to official information sources before relying on internet forums. If you have a problem with any organisation, enter into their official complaints process at the earliest opportunity, as sometimes complaints have to be started within a certain time frame.
  • rajdrajd Forumite
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    Wow that’s incredible - my sister can’t change it herself! 

    I guess I can see why but surely that leaves people open to abuse from appointees?!

    I would say that the mother is the appointee yes. 
  • marcia_marcia_ Forumite
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    You won't be able to change any bank details unless you are her appointee. If her mother is her appointee then the PIP will be paid into her bank account and be responsible for her claim. PIP will not communicate with your sister in law, they will only communicate with the appointee.
     You can report her mother to PIP and tell them exactly what's happening.https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/removing-an-appointee/
    If she's unable to manage her own claim you can then become her appointee once her mother is removed.

     If she is capable of going to uni its not likely she needs an appointee 
  • poppy12345poppy12345 Forumite
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    rajd said:
    Wow that’s incredible - my sister can’t change it herself! 


    No,. not if her mother is her appointee.
  • rajdrajd Forumite
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    marcia_ said:
    You won't be able to change any bank details unless you are her appointee. If her mother is her appointee then the PIP will be paid into her bank account and be responsible for her claim. PIP will not communicate with your sister in law, they will only communicate with the appointee.
     You can report her mother to PIP and tell them exactly what's happening.https://www.scope.org.uk/advice-and-support/removing-an-appointee/
    If she's unable to manage her own claim you can then become her appointee once her mother is removed.

     If she is capable of going to uni its not likely she needs an appointee 

    I totally disagree here. Just because someone attends Uni, it doesn't mean they are not capable of managing their own benefits. The sister could well be having lots of support at Uni.
    I think you’re both saying the same thing.

    She can probably manage on her own.

    I would agree. I’d rather not be her appointee. I’d rather no one be. But if she needs support or advice, then I’m here. 
  • rajdrajd Forumite
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    Anyone have any ideas about the car? 
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