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Personal budget for care costs - are affected?

View profile for Rachel Leech
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It has been announced in the news this morning that personal budgets for care costs will be rolled out to 350,000 people. When the local authority agrees to pay for someone’s home care needs, personal budgets allow people to be in charge of their care and have greater choice and control over the support they receive, in a way which suits them best. 

With a social worker or care manager, a care plan is created to decide how much the personal budget will be and how it will be spent. The money can be used for personal assistants, transport, housing adaptations, therapists and respite. Should there be any problems or circumstances change, personal budgets provide people with much more flexibility to make changes without the need to consult the local authority.

Who receives the payment?

Personal budgets can be paid by a direct payment. For those who lack the capacity to manage their financial affairs, a family member or friends will receive the payment on their behalf.  

Many local authorities have recently changed their terms and conditions. As a result, direct payments will only be made to a third party if they are appointed to manage their property and financial affairs, either as an attorney under a lasting power of attorney or a deputy by an order of the Court of Protection.

What is an attorney?

An attorney is appointed under a lasting power of attorney to manage someone’s property and financial affairs if they lose capacity, or beforehand with consent.  

For more information about a lasting powers of attorney, please read my colleague, David Feakin’s, blog  

What is a deputy?

If someone does not have the capacity to make a lasting power of attorney, an application must be made to the Court of Protection to ask the Court to appoint a deputy to manage their affairs. There are two types of deputy - property and financial affairs, and health and welfare.

If you are unsure about whether you can make a lasting power of attorney or need to make a Court of Protection application, we can discuss this with you.

How long does it take to be appointed as a property and finance deputy?

It typically takes 4-6 months to be appointed as a property and finance deputy. Court of Protection deputyship applications are lengthy and complex and, for this reason, we would always advise that legal advice is taken. We prepare deputyship applications on a regular basis and try to ensure that, whilst the best interests of the patient are always met, the deputies are not too restricted by the Court in the actions they can take, so as to avoid any further unnecessary costs or delays for them.

Can I be appointed as a health and welfare deputy?

If someone has capacity to do so, they can make a lasting power of attorney to appoint an attorney to manage their health and welfare.

If not, it is possible to make an application to the Court of Protection to be a deputy for someone’s health and welfare. However, the courts rarely approve health and welfare deputyship applications as they, in effect, take away freedom of choice and rights from the individual.

That said, the Court of Protection does appreciate that there are limited circumstances when such orders are necessary, to ensure an individual’s best interests are met. If you would like to discuss a health and welfare application, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist Court of Protection team.

How Birkett Long can help?

Our specialist Court of Protection team has lots of experience in making deputyship applications. If you would like to discuss how Birkett Long can help you apply to be a property and finance deputy, please call Rachel Leech for a free 15 minute chat on 01206 217623. In appropriate cases, we can discuss whether we can offer you a fixed fee.