Attendance Allowance - application queries
Keeperbee · 22/01/2023 11:23
Hi, I'm hoping for some tips / advice on applying for Attendance Allowance for my MIL (89). Her situation is this:
She lives alone - recently moved to a retirement flat, no outside carers, DH (only child) or I call in most days. She avoids contact with her GP and other health professionals unless the situation is urgent. She hasn't seen her GP for a year when she failed one memory test and was borderline on the second. She refused a referral to the memory clinic. She was assessed at an acute specialist Eye ED 12 months ago when she had an infection and she was unable to read the top line of the sight chart with her glasses (I do have that report). She refuses a referral for cataract surgery (which would improve her vision). Her hearing is very poor. She has hearing aids but refuses to wear them. She had a hip replacement 10 years ago, walks with a stick, is slow and frail but mobile. She has had a few falls on public transport and escalators when out and about but she hasn't had any medical attention for them. She takes a range of medication for high blood pressure / something related to her kidneys (unsure of the diagnosis). She has a weekly dosset pack from the pharmacy but needs help from DH or I to take the right pills at the right time as she gets into a muddle and can't understand it.
Although her long term memory is fine, her short term memory comes and goes. Her cognitive abilities have declined recently, so she is unable to understand how to (for example) top up her metres (she can't see them to top up in any case). We assist her in paying all her bills, her banking, admin etc. but she won't allow us to progress POA. She is unable to go grocery shopping unassisted, she can't / won't cook for herself. We do her laundry, put out her bins, clean and tidy the flat, and she also has a cleaner once a week.
She is completely urinary incontinent and sometimes bowel incontinent. She wears incontinence underwear 24/7 but without our help is not able to dispose appropriately (we find them stuffed in drawers, in the bed etc.). Needless to say she won't entertain a referral to the continence service. She is just about managing her own personal care (washing, dressing but can't wash her own hair). She sometimes stays in bed all day, and can often be up wandering about in the early hours of the morning. She is aware of day/night but can't seem to go to bed / get up when she intends to. She goes out to unassisted to a church coffee morning, Darby & Joan, and (despite not being able to hear at all well...) goes to a local French class and a music class. There's a local pub that serves food and she sometimes goes there for a hot meal at lunchtime. Otherwise one of us will cook for her most evenings.
We're probably reaching the limit of support we can offer her now, hence applying for AA. I'm a bit worried about not having any medical evidence because she refuses to engage with her GP / local health services and isn't on their radar. She absolutely denies that she has any health needs, and gets quite aggressive and upset if we try to discuss with her. I'm filling the form out on her behalf but she will be signing it (probably won't be able to read it though....).
Do her needs sound like they will meet the threshold for AA? Is there anything I should be emphasising? I absolutely don't want to embellish anything, but it would be helpful to hear from those with more experience than me.
TLDR - filling out an AA for for a frail 89yr old who can't see or hear well, with declining cognitive abilities who doesn't engage with any HCP. What should I emphasise?
Thank you to anyone who can offer their experience / advice!
JennyWreny · 22/01/2023 23:10
As I've seen mentioned on here many times, you should fill out the AA form as though it is the worse day for your MIL. Make sure you put everything down that she needs help with, so for example if she gets up in the night to go to the toilet maybe she needs a nightlight on, she might need to use her stick to walk to the bathroom, she might need the bathroom door left open so that she knows where to go, or a sign on the door, possibly a frame around the toilet or grab rails. It doesn't matter if these are thing that she already has, they are aids to help her in her daily routines. The form is quite long and seems a bit repetitive but easy enough to fill in.
Having said that, after reading your post it does sound like she needs more help, it sounds like she wouldn't be keen to have carers but it may be that if she had a needs assessment from social services (in my area you can apply online for one) that they would deem that she needs extra help, maybe a falls alarm for example, or maybe a carer. You can also get a carers assessment for you/DH which might be helpful for you.
We have recently started using Pivotell boxes for medication. Our local council have a team who lend them out. Take a look at them, I think they would really help in your MIL's situation. The are similar to the dosset boxes but the compartment only opens when it's time for the medication so you can't take too much. You can set them to beep (or not) when it's time to take. You can also get one which will send you a text message if the medication hasn't been taken.
It sounds like she isn't keen to give your DH POA but it will be very difficult if he doesn't have it and she loses capacity. I think you then have to apply through courts - sorry, I'm not exactly sure about this.
I wish you all the best, it's a difficult time for everyone involved.
MereDintofPandiculation · 23/01/2023 09:06
Don’t take it too literally about filling it out as on the worst day ever - you have a duty to be honest.
More useful is to remember “a need that is met is still a need”.
put down everything you’ve told us about what she can’t do (miss out comments about her refusing cataract ops or hearing aids). Put in dates and times of the most recent falls, or even “4 falls in the period 1 - 20 Jan”. Dates, times, exact numbers magically transform anecdote to evidence.
What are her medication needs without the dosset box? Ie what’s the basic need not the residual need
if she can’t wash her hair, can she wash her face? Clean her teeth?
I would have thought (as a lay person who has applied for AA) that she would qualify for the daytime rate, and if she wanders at night, needs the loo in the night and can’t manage, you may also get the night time rate.
dancingmice · 23/01/2023 09:10
Call Age UK and ask them to refer you to DWP for someone to come round and help you complete the forms. We did that for my MIL a few months ago as the forms as so confusing at it worked really well. They came out a couple of weeks later but beware actually getting a decision takes months. Good luck
LadyGardenersQuestionTime · 23/01/2023 09:18
it breaks my heart to hear of people like your mil. frankly she is a walking safeguarding referral. What a nightmare for all of you. I take it she won’t conscience outside carers? You are carrying a very heavy burden.
Just take the a form slow and steady, I’ve done it for my pil and got it every time. She needs to have been struggling like this for 6 months to receive the allowance immediately, otherwise it kicks in at the 6 month point.
Keeperbee · 23/01/2023 09:24
Thank you both, I really appreciate your advice. I've filled it out now and laying it all out in the form I think she will qualify. I've not exaggerated anything, just put the facts of the help she needs.
But she won't sign it. She is horrified that I've mentioned her incontinence, views it as a betrayal of trust. She's in complete denial about her memory/ cognitive issues, and is adamant that she could, if left to it cook, sort her bills, banking, cleaning and laundry and do her own shopping...
She won't acknowledge that before she moved near to us last year and we started to do all this for her, she was existing on crackers and cheese in a squalid house.
Not sure what else I can do now. She has capacity, we don't have POA.
Thanks again though, I appreciate you taking the time to reply x
Huckleberries73 · 23/01/2023 09:36
We filled in AA forms for my dp last week.
I would take the advice of the person above who said call age concern and have them help you.
they are the experts and will be truthful but firm.
maybe they could speak to her about the poa too, and what happens if there isn’t one, ie, she becomes a ward of the court, and no one in the family can make decisions, That’s possibly scarier than not filling in the Aa forms
Keeperbee · 23/01/2023 10:44
Thank you everyone. All very sound advice and gratefully received.
The POA issue is separate to this. She's actually not against it in principle. However my DH works for one of the big 4 accountancy firms. And although he does not work in the finance or audit areas of the business, company policy dictates that he can't have an interest in or hold POA for someone with a financial interest in companies that they audit.
MIL has some investments left to her by her parents and has a modest monthly income from the shares that she depends on. If she were to sell shares she would have tax issues and her income compromised. And quite a big proportion of the shares are on DH's embargoed list.
DH and I have had a row about it this morning as the discussion about POA has been going on for years. Apparently I can't hold the POA either under the policy and there are literally no other relatives who could. It's a bloody mess. I've given him an ultimatum this morning to work with his company to find a solution to this that is acceptable to them and doesn't compromise MILs small income. Otherwise I can't continue to run myself ragged trying to cope with her needs, my full time work and our young children as she gets more and more needy. It's so frustrating to be hampered in trying to act in her best interests.
Sorry, that's turned into a rant. And she still won't sign the Attendance Allowance form😭.
JennyWreny · 23/01/2023 10:59
Oh no! We had the same problem with POA. My husband also has to complete independence forms (or whatever they call it now). Luckily my sister could therefore be the finance POA and we both have health and welfare POA.
Can you help your MIL get financial advice to move her investments to somewhere that isn’t a conflict of interest?
Keeperbee · 23/01/2023 12:07
@JennyWreny at least it not just us this affects...good to hear your experience.
We're not talking high finance here at all. Apart from the state pension her only other income is a few hundred pounds a month from investments made by her late mother. Some is in a managed fund which is fine but some are just straight blocks of shares. DH has been advised that if she sells any of the shares, even to invest the money in other shares that aren't on the embargoed list, or to transfer to the managed fund she will be liable for capital gains tax which would reduce her capital and therefore her income. Besides, we don't know the first thing about shares or the stock market and don't want to be messing with her money in any way. It seems bonkers that DH's employment can put his elderly mother's income at risk. We're fully aware that these shares may need to be sold in any case to pay for care in the future.
She's an only child, DH is her only child. I'm from abroad so none of my relatives can hold the POA. I've told DH that he needs to formally raise this with his employer to find a mutually acceptable solution.
I feel very defeated this morning between MILs fuss over the Attendance Allowance form and the stupid POA mess. God only knows what will happen when things deteriorate for her. She would never consent or cooperate with a care needs assessment...
Apologies for my rant. But just setting it all out here has been helpful for me,so thank you everyone xx
JennyWreny · 23/01/2023 17:21
Ironically, if she would let you help her with the AA form she may have more income anyway. If she was to be awarded even the lower amount it’s >£250 a month. Possibly would also mean she’s eligible for council tax exemption or other benefits. Lots of things are linked to the attendance allowance. Possibly even some of the energy payments (I’m not 100% sure).
Could it help if you reframed it as her paying into the system all those years when she was working and she’s now entitled to that money.
The other thing you might want to look into is getting a Carers assessment for you/your husband. If you think MIL won’t agree to a care assessment. They might have some ideas which could help.
Keeperbee · 23/01/2023 20:15
Thank you @JennyWreny . I'm not familiar with a carers assessment. Going to look that up now. I've just assumed that as DH and I are both working full time that there isn't any support we can access....but any advice we can get we'll take at this stage!
MereDintofPandiculation · 24/01/2023 09:37
DH has been advised that if she sells any of the shares, even to invest the money in other shares that aren't on the embargoed list, or to transfer to the managed fund she will be liable for capital gains tax which would reduce her capital and therefore her income. Who has given him the advice? I would suggest getting professional advice. Firstly, CGT is payable only on the increase in value of the shares, not on the entire amount . Secondly, there’s a tax free allowance, £12,500 this year dropping to £6000 in April - so if you got your skates on and split the sale between March and April, you’d have a total allowance of £18500.
There is another solution to PoA and that is to have a professional attorney.
Keeperbee · 24/01/2023 14:55
Thanks @MereDintofPandiculation ! We are working through some solutions to the POA mess. I'm not sure how CGT applies to shares purchased in the 1960s which she inherited in the 1990s and haven't been touched at all in those years. We are going to have to get professional advice, which is fine. Ideally we'd like to not sell or touch her shares in any way as they give her a small but steady monthly income as they stand. We have considered a professional attorney but we're just trying to work out how this would work in practice and if MIL would even consider handing over to an outside party (doubtful!!!).
Princessglittery · 01/02/2023 10:33
@Keeperbee Have you considered Home Instead and respite care? The first will come in and do laundry, cleaning, cooking etc. I know you said she has a cleaner but paying someone to do the physical jobs can take some of the burden from you.
Respite care in a residential home means you can go away for holidays etc. or just have a break.
Nat6999 · 02/02/2023 01:14
I'm just helping my mum fill in the forms, she has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Polymyalgia, arthritis & COPD, she has recently got a pacemaker. She is 84 & has had two really bad falls, in one of them she badly injured her face, I'm going to use the photos of her injuries in the application, she has also had cardiac seizures & takes blood thinners & beta blockers as well as her medication for her diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD & pain relief for her arthritis & polymyalgia. Could you keep a diary for a week of all the care she needs to use in the application, you can apply to become her appointee, you may need to speak to the attendance allowance helpline.
Keeperbee · 18/03/2023 11:22
Hi - just wanted to come back and say thanks to everyone for all your help. MILs attendance allowance has come through. I got very useful advice here for filling the form out.
The POA is a whole other story 😱, not sure we'll ever sort that one out. But at least the AA is sorted.
JennyWreny · 18/03/2023 17:18
Glad you got the AA @Keeperbee Such a long form, but worth it. I don't know if you got the lower or higher amount but if the lower, keep an eye on if/when she might be eligible for the higher amount. We were so stressed/busy with things at that time that we didn't apply to change to higher for DF and definitely missed out because of that.
Sorry to hear you are still having issues with the POA 😩
MMAMPWGHAP · 20/03/2023 15:36
@Keeperbee Wel done with the AA. An argument you might be able to use for the POA (having enacted POA for both my parents). Once you have the POA docs I’ve found companies don’t make it easy for you to use it. Its my theory that many companies realise that it’s in their interest for your elderly relative’s money to eg languish in dead accounts getting a pittance of interest.
So by not granting POA she is open to abuse by these companies. Not on the best tariffs, not getting the cheapest insurance. It is not you doing the financial abuse it’s the multinationals. “Lots of people save money when their relatives help them out” is the argument.
Also re your earlier comment, the CGT allowance is being cut in half imminently so I would liquidate at least £12,300 of the shares before the tax year changes if you will need to sell them. Could go higher than that without much danger.
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