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What happens to a pension if an OAP in hospital?

(15 Posts)
Flower3545 Sun 06-Sep-09 16:28:22

Dh's mum has been in hospital a couple of weeks now and they've just moved her to an assessment centre to assess if she will be capable of independent living again. She most likely won't!

Do we have to do anything about her pension, it is currently being used to pay rent and utilities and any over left for her personal needs.

MrsGladpuss Sun 06-Sep-09 16:35:14

Sorry to hear about your MIL sad

To answer your question, her pension should keep going into her bank or post office account as normal. How are the bills paid? If it's by direct debit/standing order then you won't need to do anything.

If not, then you may have to make some arrangements but these will depend on your MIL's circumstances. If she is unlikely to be able to run her own finances due to long term mental health problems then a power of attorney should be considered.

If she is mentally capable but has physical problems then her current account provider should be able to offer options for her to run her accounts remotely either by telephone, post or internet.

I may be able to give you some more advice with a bit more info, such as if this is a temporary situation or not.

Flower3545 Sun 06-Sep-09 16:41:57

Thank you so much MrsGladpuss, we are well out of our depth here.

Briefly (I hope) she is a widow of 92, Dh is her only child and until her pension started going into a post office account she had never had anything resembling a bank account.

Her great-niece collects/cashes her pension with a pin card then pays her rent and pays any bills for her. This has continued while she is in hospital but her niece no longer wants the responsibility so I'm happy to take over.

I'm concious though that this isn't my money and although MIL is incapable mentally of making decisions we are unsure what the next step should be.

muddleddaizy Sun 06-Sep-09 16:50:25

Your mil should have a social worker assigned to her & they should be able to advise & assist you. Contact assessment centre & they should be able to give you their details. Failing that speak to the cab. There is a legal process that you need to go thru, but can't remember the details at the mo.

abouteve Sun 06-Sep-09 16:56:00

If she is going to be in hospital long term then I think they will reduce her pension. Sorry if this is inaccurate but that happened when my mum was in hosptial for a few months around 12 years ago.

Flower3545 Sun 06-Sep-09 16:56:43

Thank you muddled, I'll check that out.

BigGitDad Sun 06-Sep-09 16:58:58

scroll down for pensions

abouteve Sun 06-Sep-09 16:59:43

Sorry, just googled it and I'm pleased to say they abolished this in 2003.

MrsGladpuss Sun 06-Sep-09 17:05:19

I understand. I would suggest setting up some formal arrangement so everyone knows where they stand (and would I be right in thinking you'd be more comfortable with that?). I am assuming that she is not very wealthy and that she does not have a solicitor who acts for her?

You or your DH can help your MIL set up a power of attorney (POA) if she has mental capacity. Does she have moments of lucidity? If she does she can set up a "Lasting power of attorney" (LPA) for her property and affairs where she would appoint someone she trusts to manage her finances. This link explains this.

You can get a solicitor to do this or use forms from the Office of the Public Guardian website link

However, I suspect from what you've said that it is too late to do this now and you will have to directly petition the Court of Protection to set up something similar to the LPA. This is their page.

I would set up a formal arrangement because you will find so many obstacles dealing with banks and utility companies and once you have the power you can just take over and sort everything out. In the meantime taking over the cash card seems a sensible option.

It can be trying arranging a POA (and many institutions are poor at dealing with the inital registation onto an account) but once it is done it will make things easier. If you get any problems with banks I can give specific advice how to resolve this.


Flower3545 Sun 06-Sep-09 17:06:27

Oh thats a relief! I'd almost convinced myself that they would stop her pension.

If she goes into a care home am I correct in thinking they then take over her pension?

EldonAve Sun 06-Sep-09 17:08:01

No the care home won't take over her pension

Depending on the circumstances she may have to pay the care home or the council may fund it

MrsGladpuss Sun 06-Sep-09 17:08:24

Not if you have POA. Her money remains under her control money until a court approves an attorney. They are extremely unlikely to appoint the care home.

MrsGladpuss Sun 06-Sep-09 17:09:21

In fact I can't think of any circumstance where that would happen.

Flower3545 Sun 06-Sep-09 17:26:44

You would be right in thinking that MrsGladpuss, it all feels a little up in the air at the moment. Her health is very poor, she has no idea who her son is, eg she gave him such a telling off on Friday when he visited for chain smoking, he has never smoked a ciggie in his life while her late husband was a smoker.

She has also informed the hospital staff that she owns a 3 bed-roomed house when in fact she has lived in rented homes her whole life and currently has a 1 bedroomed bungalow.

It is an extremely sad situation for us all, while she seems quite content thank god!

MrsGladpuss Sun 06-Sep-09 22:50:44

My grandmother had Alzheimers so I sympathise.

Sometimes doing practical things can help because it feels like you're doing something when you just don't know what to do.

Best of luck

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