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Becoming an Appointee for Benefits Claims

There are various reasons why some people need help claiming their welfare benefits. An appointee is someone given the legal right to act on their behalf.

DWP APPOINTEESHIP RULES: This section explains how to become a legal appointee for someone who is claiming benefits.

Claiming your rightful entitlements and managing your own affairs can often be a challenge. This is especially so for those who are mentally incapable or disabled.

In these cases, another person can apply for the legal right to manage their affairs for them. This person is legally known as ‘an appointee‘.

But, specific appointeeship rules apply for the right to deal with someone else’s social security claims.

Only one legal appointee can act on behalf of a benefits claimant. In most cases they would be dealing with the Department for Work and Pensions.

The DWP will not appoint any assignees if the claimant is capable, but only needs some general help. Also, you cannot become an appointee as a convenient way of helping your friend or relative.

As a rule, the Department for Work and Pensions classify an appointee as either an:

  • Individual person (e.g. relative or friend known to the claimant).
  • Organisation or a specific representative of an organisation. That could be a local council or a solicitor).

DWP Appointee Rules and Responsibilities

All appointees have certain responsibilities. You will be responsible for making benefit claims and maintaining them at the relevant office. That means you must:

  • Sign the appropriate social security benefit claim form on behalf of the claimant.
  • Inform the benefit office of any changes that may affect how much money the claimant gets.
  • The money gets paid direct the assignee. That means you should spend the benefit payments in the best interest of the claimant. You should not spend the money on things you need for yourself.
  • Payments do not need to go into an appointee’s account. They can get paid into a claimant’s existing account if the assignee has access.
  • Benefits cannot get paid into an existing Post Office Card Account when you have an appointee.
  • Inform the benefit office if you stop being the claimant’s appointee. This might happen if the claimant starts managing their own affairs.

Note: Often, appointees are responsible for dealing with overpaid benefits. This can be serious if you knowingly provide incorrect information.

How to Become an Appointee: First Time Application

Your point of contact depends on the type of benefit claimed by the person you are acting on behalf of.

Note: A different process applies to appointeeship rules for tax credits purposes.

DWP Appointee Review

  1. The Department for Work and Pensions will arrange to visit the claimant. That gives them an opportunity to assess if they need a representative to claim for them.
  2. DWP will then interview the nominee to ensure they are suitable.
  3. You and the interviewer will fill out an appointee application BF56 form during the interview.
  4. DWP will then send you BF57 form if you get formally appointed to act on behalf of the claimant. Note that you do not become the appointee until you get the confirmation document.

Department for Work and Pensions monitor and review each situation after authorisation. This ensures that the case remains a suitable arrangement for both the appointee and the claimant.

How to Stop Being an Appointee

You should contact DWP without delay if you want to stop being an appointee for your claimant. You can do this by phoning the benefit office dealing with the claim. Their phone number will be on any letters they sent to you.

Note: The Department for Work and Pensions can stop your appointment as appointee if:

  • You fail to act responsibly under the terms of the appointment rules.
  • The beneficiary becomes able to manage their own rights to claim benefits.
  • A court of law intervenes in the decision of the appointment.
  • You choose to end the appointment yourself, you become incapable, or the claimant dies. In this case you should inform DWP immediately.

Appointeeship Rules: How to Become an Appointee for Someone Claiming Benefits