Power of Attorney and Government Departments

  morddwyd 12:36 11 Jan 15
Locked

I have full PoA for my wife, registered with the Public Guardian and all signed sealed and delivered, so to speak.

Now I've been advised by the Department of Work & Pensions that if I need authority to act on my fife's behalf (I don't, but I might in the future) I must sunlit to a home interview and produce all sort of documents (for both of us) including bank statements, medical certificates, passport, driving licence, ongoing prescriptions and a whole slew of other things, well beyond the usual proof of idebtity/money laundering requirements.

Isn't PoA recognised by Government departments?

Hell of an expensive bit of paper if it isn't.

They've already paid a no notice visit to my wife in her nursing home, which was not good for her, and now want to interview me separately. I can understand them wanting to interview her without my presence, but not the other way around.

The notice is also a bit short, letter came yesterday for an interview at lunchtime Tuesday.

They also query whether this is a new, or an ongoing, claim for benefit, but the last benefit claim for both of us was for our pension, in 2003 for me and 2001 for my wife.

  spuds 12:54 11 Jan 15

Not sure if you are seeking help and advice or just making a comment.Whatever they want, you should have the answers on Tuesday, if the meeting goes ahead.

Age UK (do they cover Scotland) offer advice and leaflets on these issues, plus also suggest in their 'Wills and estate planning' booklet click here

  bremner 13:25 11 Jan 15

What type of POA do you have click here

  Forum Editor 13:54 11 Jan 15

"I have full PoA for my wife, registered with the Public Guardian and all signed sealed and delivered,...."

We need to be clear about this - do you have a Power of attorney (which gives you the power to make decisions about your wife's financial affairs) or a lasting Power of attorney, which includes powers to make decisions about other aspects of her life?

I think you live in Wales, which introduces another layer of difference - the documentation is different to that used in England, although I believe the required information is the same.

  john bunyan 13:54 11 Jan 15

bremner

Your link was for England; the Scottish link is CAB Scotland

Although I am more familiar with the English version, I find the DWP attitude to the OP is insensitive and unnecessary. Clearly they have a duty of care to both the husband and wife and , should they feel an additional attorney is needed they could apply to the Public Guardian. It seems inexcusable for them to create anxiety with Mr and Mrs morddwyd in this way. If I were he, I would ensure a "learned" friend (not necessarily a lawyer) is present at the interview as a witness, and would even consider talking to the local MP.

  Forum Editor 14:29 11 Jan 15

john bunyan

I thonk you need to bear in mind the fact that - as you acknowledge - the Welfar system is under a very strong obligation to ensure that all matters relating to Power of attorney are scrupulously examined. There is a code of practice to which they must adhere.

They must try to identify all the things that the person who lacks capacity would take into account if they were making the decision or acting for themselves, and they must talk to anyone else who seeks to become involved in making decisions for that person. For decisions about major medical treatment or where the person should live and where there is no-one who fits the bill as far as decision making is concerned, an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate must be consulted. It's important to ensure that anyone making those decisions is capable of making an informed judgement.

Above all, the department concerned must be as sure as it can be that the person who will have the power to make decisions is a fit and proper person to do so, regardless of his or her personal relationship. They must be as sure as they can be that decisions will be made in the interests of the person who lacks the mental capacity to decide for him/her self, and not in the interests of anyone else.

It's a very difficult job, and carries a considerable amount of responsibility - there has to be a system, and it must be adhered to. The possible consequences of getting it wrong can have a considerable impact on peoples' lives.

  morddwyd 18:40 11 Jan 15

Thanks for the responses.

I am in Scotland and I have lasting PoA, for all aspects, drawn up by a solicitor, and, as I said, registered with the Public Guardian.

"Above all, the department concerned must be as sure as it can be that the person who will have the power to make decisions is a fit and proper person to do so, regardless of his or her personal relationship. They must be as sure as they can be that decisions will be made in the interests of the person who lacks the mental capacity to decide for him/her self, and not in the interests of anyone else."

I take this point, but it is surely covered by the Court and the Public Guardian before granting the PoA. There is little point in paying several hundred quid for it if it is not going to be accepted.

It is accepted by her bank and by Social Services.

As iy happens my wife is physically, not mentally, incapacitated. She is fully compos mentis and makes all her own decisions - I just implement them, like signing her cheques and forms.

Just to confirm, there have been no moves, by either my wife or me, for me to take over any of her dealings with the DWP so why are they doing this, out pf the blue, unless someone is making a fraudulent claim on our behalf?

  spuds 19:11 11 Jan 15

You might have a point there, why the DWP are making a check.

The government are tightening up on possible fraud, and my local council have been given substantial funds to distribute to other councils, in a new scheme being introduced to combat possible fraud from various benefits being provided by the state.

In the main, it would seem that past records are being checked and verified, so government records are easily understood, up to date, and more so, 'shareable' among the various agencies and authorities.

Perhaps this is not the case in your situation, but it might be worth considering!.

  Forum Editor 07:41 12 Jan 15

I've been trawling through the law and regulations relating to the DWP involvement with Lasting Powers of Attorney, and can find little to indicate what their reasons might be for the actions they're taking in your case, apart from the (obvious) fact that they need to be sure that safeguards are in place where public funds are concerned.

Have you asked them?

  morddwyd 15:08 12 Jan 15

"Have you asked them?"

Yes, but I think time is against me.

The letter only arrived Saturday, I saw it quite late, and I sent an e-mail on Sunday.

The interview is at noon on Wednesday, and the office is in Exeter, so he will almost certainly be leaving tomorrow. Even if he flies from Exeter to Edinburgh it doesn't leave us much time for any meaningful exchange.

I note one of the documents required is an expired passport, so their obviously suspicious about something!

  Forum Editor 15:18 12 Jan 15

"I note one of the documents required is an expired passport, so their obviously suspicious about something!"

If someone is travelling all the way from Exeter to Edinburgh it does seem likely.

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