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    • gterr
    • By gterr 11th Mar 18, 4:50 PM
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    gterr
    DWP: possible reclaim of benefit after death?
    • #1
    • 11th Mar 18, 4:50 PM
    DWP: possible reclaim of benefit after death? 11th Mar 18 at 4:50 PM
    Hi there,


    My FiL was in local authority residential care for 4 years before his death in December 2017. He had a stroke, followed by dementia and was mostly estranged from his sons. There was no will, and no PoA (he refused to consider either, even before the dementia took hold), and nobody was set up as DWP Appointee. Apparently, he was in receipt of pension credit but we do not know when this started or who, if anyone, helped with the application, and we have no paperwork at all. When he entered permanent residential care the Local Authority started to send the bills for his care to my husband. We explained repeatedly that we had no access to FiL's money - all of which was benefit income paid directly into his current account. We asked the LA to become Corporate Appointees so that they could take care of FiL's benefit income, and thereby pay his financial contribution to his care fees and make sure that FiL received his personal allowance. They declined to do so. We paid one bill of 2800 in 2016 out of our own money because they had presented the bill to FiL who had become very distressed. We also drip fed money into FiL's care home account so that he had some spare cash for sundries. We could not afford to continue paying his fees, and repeatedly asked the LA to take out Appointeeship. They did not do so, but instead let the bills pile up.


    After FiL's death in December my husband became the administrator of his estate and obtained probate. We found a few bank statements, which showed that FiL's bank balance had risen from approx. 10,000 to about 30,000 during the last 5 years, because his PC was still being paid in, but nothing was being paid out.


    Not surprisingly, DWP have now sent a letter indicating there may have been a benefit overpayment, and telling us not to disperse the estate until they decide. We have also received a bill of 9000 from LA for unpaid care home fees. If the LA had taken out appointeeship at the start then FiL's care home fees would have been paid as he went along, and his bank balance would not have grown to the level at which he was ineligible for benefits.


    Where do we stand? The bank were willing to pay the funeral director's bill direct, before probate was granted, but we have incurred significant additional expense in travelling down to deal with the funeral and other affairs. We have one LA bill of 9000 to pay, and presumably the DWP may claim back most of what was in FiL's account??


    We have filled in the form that DWP requested, and have enclosed a covering letter. Do you know what might happen next?


    Thanks for your time.
    Last edited by gterr; 11-03-2018 at 4:52 PM.
Page 1
    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 11th Mar 18, 5:00 PM
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    BorisThomson
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 5:00 PM
    • #2
    • 11th Mar 18, 5:00 PM
    They'll calculate the overpayment and send you a breakdown, you can then verify if it is accurate. In the meantime let the LA know that you can't pay their bill until you've received this information from the DWP.

    How much are you looking to claim in expenses? You can claim reasonable expenses for administering the estate, but not for usual family things such as attending the funeral.

    The overpayment and the care fees will need to be repaid. Just ensure you have all the information in before distributing anything.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 11th Mar 18, 5:29 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 5:29 PM
    • #3
    • 11th Mar 18, 5:29 PM
    The reason they would not take on the roll, is because your FIL had relatives who could have applied for deputyship through the courts, especially after you paid that bill.

    You say you have completed probate, which is where the DWP get there info on the value of the estate, so his net estate should only have been about 15k after funeral costs and the to debt to you and the local authority have been taken into account so I would not expect a significant claim from the DWP.


    The complexity now is the level of saving, but the DWP should take into account the debt owed to the local authority and yourself, for the payments that were never taken. I would contact the DWP and ask them how to proceed with submitting evidence that this was the case.
    • gterr
    • By gterr 11th Mar 18, 7:11 PM
    • 552 Posts
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    gterr
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:11 PM
    • #4
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:11 PM
    They'll calculate the overpayment and send you a breakdown, you can then verify if it is accurate. In the meantime let the LA know that you can't pay their bill until you've received this information from the DWP.

    How much are you looking to claim in expenses? You can claim reasonable expenses for administering the estate, but not for usual family things such as attending the funeral.

    The overpayment and the care fees will need to be repaid. Just ensure you have all the information in before distributing anything.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson


    We are not too worried about the travel costs etc, but are worried that there won't be enough in the estate to pay both the DWP bill for PC overpayment, and the LA bill for care costs.
    • AnotherJoe
    • By AnotherJoe 11th Mar 18, 7:17 PM
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    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:17 PM
    • #5
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:17 PM
    Well if there isn't enough, that's their tough luck and nothing to do with you.
    • gterr
    • By gterr 11th Mar 18, 7:23 PM
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    gterr
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:23 PM
    • #6
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:23 PM
    The reason they would not take on the roll, is because your FIL had relatives who could have applied for deputyship through the courts, especially after you paid that bill.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling

    Yes, with the benefit of hindsight that might have been the way to go, but we understood from others that deputyship would take many months to acquire and could cost thousands of pounds. The LA didn't at any point say they would not apply for Corporate Appointeeship - they just kept saying they would refer the matter to FiL's social worker, and we never got a formal response.


    You say you have completed probate, which is where the DWP get there info on the value of the estate, so his net estate should only have been about 15k after funeral costs and the to debt to you and the local authority have been taken into account so I would not expect a significant claim from the DWP.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling

    It would be good news indeed if the DWP were minded to take into account the LA's bills.

    The complexity now is the level of saving, but the DWP should take into account the debt owed to the local authority and yourself, for the payments that were never taken. I would contact the DWP and ask them how to proceed with submitting evidence that this was the case.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling

    Thank you. We do have the LA paperwork, of course, but little else. The calculation could get very complex if we were to consider what the actual cash flow would have been had the LA bills been paid out of his benefit income in a timely manner, and if FiL had received his Personal Allowance from his benefit income rather than from ourselves. Is this something we should try to prepare ourselves, or would the DWP do this?
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 11th Mar 18, 7:51 PM
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    Yorkshireman99
    • #7
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:51 PM
    • #7
    • 11th Mar 18, 7:51 PM
    Yes, with the benefit of hindsight that might have been the way to go, but we understood from others that deputyship would take many months to acquire and could cost thousands of pounds. The LA didn't at any point say they would not apply for Corporate Appointeeship - they just kept saying they would refer the matter to FiL's social worker, and we never got a formal response.




    It would be good news indeed if the DWP were minded to take into account the LA's bills.




    Thank you. We do have the LA paperwork, of course, but little else. The calculation could get very complex if we were to consider what the actual cash flow would have been had the LA bills been paid out of his benefit income in a timely manner, and if FiL had received his Personal Allowance from his benefit income rather than from ourselves. Is this something we should try to prepare ourselves, or would the DWP do this?
    Originally posted by gterr
    This is very puzzling.. Please could explain the payment you made for the care? AFAIK you had no legal liability then nor now. Obviously some of the estate will have to go in care fees but from what you say these should have been met by the local authority. Have consulted a solicitor?
    • gterr
    • By gterr 11th Mar 18, 8:16 PM
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    gterr
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:16 PM
    • #8
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:16 PM
    This is very puzzling.. Please could explain the payment you made for the care? AFAIK you had no legal liability then nor now. Obviously some of the estate will have to go in care fees but from what you say these should have been met by the local authority. Have consulted a solicitor?
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99


    We don't have any quibble with the financial assessment that was done by the LA when FiL first went into residential care. The cost of the care home place was greater than FiL's income, and his capital at that stage was too low to be taken into account. So, his contribution to his care home fees was the total of his benefit income, minus a weekly allowance of about 25 (Personal Allowance) which should have gone directly to him to pay for sundries like haircuts and toiletries. We didn't want to pay the early bill for his care fees, but after we'd indicated to the LA that we couldn't afford to contribute to his fees, and asked them to take out Corporate Appointeeship, the LA then presented this bill of more than 2000 to my FiL. At that stage he already had dementia, was unable to sign a cheque, and he became very distressed despite our assurances that he needn't worry about the bill. We paid that one to set his mind at rest, and told the LA is was not just pointless but cruel to present him with any more. I do think the LA behaved badly. We felt we were being blackmailed to pay his bills for him. In our mind there was still the option for the LA to take out Corporate Appointeeship, and they didn't at any point tell us that they refused to do so, but they just elected not to, didn't tell us, and let FiL's bills pile up.
    • Yorkshireman99
    • By Yorkshireman99 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
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    Yorkshireman99
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
    • #9
    • 11th Mar 18, 8:30 PM
    We don't have any quibble with the financial assessment that was done by the LA when FiL first went into residential care. The cost of the care home place was greater than FiL's income, and his capital at that stage was too low to be taken into account. So, his contribution to his care home fees was the total of his benefit income, minus a weekly allowance of about 25 (Personal Allowance) which should have gone directly to him to pay for sundries like haircuts and toiletries. We didn't want to pay the early bill for his care fees, but after we'd indicated to the LA that we couldn't afford to contribute to his fees, and asked them to take out Corporate Appointeeship, the LA then presented this bill of more than 2000 to my FiL. At that stage he already had dementia, was unable to sign a cheque, and he became very distressed despite our assurances that he needn't worry about the bill. We paid that one to set his mind at rest, and told the LA is was not just pointless but cruel to present him with any more. I do think the LA behaved badly. We felt we were being blackmailed to pay his bills for him. In our mind there was still the option for the LA to take out Corporate Appointeeship, and they didn't at any point tell us that they refused to do so, but they just elected not to, didn't tell us, and let FiL's bills pile up.
    Originally posted by gterr
    Have you lodged a formal complaint against the local authority? I think you need to talk to a solictor and try and get this mess unscrambled.
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 11th Mar 18, 9:50 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    This is very puzzling.. Please could explain the payment you made for the care? AFAIK you had no legal liability then nor now. Obviously some of the estate will have to go in care fees but from what you say these should have been met by the local authority. Have consulted a solicitor?
    Originally posted by Yorkshireman99
    Anyone receiving LA funded care, still has to contribute from income. With 10,000 of savings the bulk of the income should have been paid to the LA with just a small amount retained to pay for things like newspapers or hairdressing. My mother had a bit more in savings so she was paying 157 a week for her LA funded care, which is slightly more than she was receiving for her state pension payments.

    Hopefully the OP can resolve this without the expense of solicitors. Based on the figures the only overpayment should be a very small amount if the PC was paid weekly in advance. The LA bill will certainly have to be paid.

    How old was you FIL? If he was mid 80s upwards he would almost certainly be on an indefinite income assessment period, which would mean any changes in savings after the last assesment would not affect PC anyway.
    Last edited by Keep pedalling; 11-03-2018 at 9:56 PM.
    • gterr
    • By gterr 11th Mar 18, 10:09 PM
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    gterr

    How old was you FIL? If he was mid 80s upwards he would almost certainly be on an indefinite income assessment period, which would mean any changes in savings after the last assesment would not affect PC anyway.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling


    He was 88. I did wonder about an income assessment period. We have no paperwork about his benefit claim. Will DWP tell us if we ask? Will the fact that my husband is next of kin and the person administering the estate (intestate) give him the right to the information?
    • Keep pedalling
    • By Keep pedalling 11th Mar 18, 10:23 PM
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    Keep pedalling
    He was 88. I did wonder about an income assessment period. We have no paperwork about his benefit claim. Will DWP tell us if we ask? Will the fact that my husband is next of kin and the person administering the estate (intestate) give him the right to the information?
    Originally posted by gterr

    He should have been on one since the age of 75. The DWP issue these notices when the see the value of someones estate published, and usually what they are concerned with in someone his age is, did he have any undeclared savings when PC was applied for or when the last assessment was done. The amount in his account at death should not be an issue.

    Which bank was he with?
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 11th Mar 18, 11:12 PM
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    Savvy_Sue
    He should have been on one since the age of 75. The DWP issue these notices when the see the value of someones estate published, and usually what they are concerned with in someone his age is, did he have any undeclared savings when PC was applied for or when the last assessment was done. The amount in his account at death should not be an issue.
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    Worth stating that some time ago we had a poster with a similar issue: it took a long time for the DWP to confirm that they were happy, but in that case the OP had to point out to DWP that they could not obtain the information being requested - bank statements going back to when the PC was first granted. This OP may be in a similar situation, ie unable to confirm amounts held in bank accounts at various historical points.
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    • gterr
    • By gterr 12th Mar 18, 9:58 AM
    • 552 Posts
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    gterr
    He should have been on one since the age of 75. The DWP issue these notices when the see the value of someones estate published, and usually what they are concerned with in someone his age is, did he have any undeclared savings when PC was applied for or when the last assessment was done. The amount in his account at death should not be an issue.

    Which bank was he with?
    Originally posted by Keep pedalling
    He's with NatWest. We found bank statements in his effects that go back to (just) before he was admitted into care, and these show a balance of just over 10,000. We don't have historical bank statements.


    Savvy Sue: thanks for this info. Sounds hopeful.
    • DWPete
    • By DWPete 14th Mar 18, 9:12 PM
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    DWPete
    Get in touch with the DWP and ask them to note up that you want some time to find out the facts fully from others... and with regards to your position with the DWP... that way you might get some breathing time. Either way it might not go away but if you keep everyone up to date that should be better. See if the DWP can allocate a case worker to the file so that you maintain the continuity. As you have sent the reply back to them already they should have made a start.
    • sammy1234567
    • By sammy1234567 17th Mar 18, 3:36 PM
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    sammy1234567
    I had a DWP inquiry following my relative's death. I wrote saying ' I have written to the financial institutions asking for bank statements etc., and would like an extension of time to obtain the info you have requested. In the meantime, I believe that Mr/s X had an AIP, [ even if you do not have evidence! it is v likely there was an AIP as it was standard practise to have them for people of that age). and that the increase in funds in the bank account was due to [explanation.] in your cases the explanation appears to be that no one had access to the bank account and income funds built up, because they were not being spent, while at the same time debts were also building up, because incoming money in the bank account was not accessible so bills could not be paid, including care home fees. ] this explanation sounds reasonable to me, and you could attach the care home bills and if you are administrators of the estate you can get the last 6 years bank statements and this should show evidence of pension credit coming in. You can ask them to accept that your explanation fully explains the increase in funds.
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