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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Becoming an appointee for social security benefits

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 - called an appointee - can be given the legal right to act for them. Find out about becoming an appointee.

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 an appointee just because it seems the most convenient way of helping someone.

Your responsibilities as an appointee

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 as an appointee, 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.

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.

Additional links

Benefits advice online

Get benefits advice by using this online tool to answer questions about your situation

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