Dementia and managing money
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People living with dementia may have always managed their own or their family's finances. But at some point they may need extra support to help them.
If you're living with dementia and can still make your own decisions (have mental capacity), it's a good idea to set up a lasting power of attorney (LPA) for your financial and property affairs.
Choose someone you trust to act as your attorney. This means they can act on your behalf, and in your best interests, when you can no longer make decisions.
Once registered, the LPA can be used with your permission, even if you're still able to deal with many aspects of your finances yourself. Or it can be held in readiness for when you can no longer make decisions.
There are steps you can take now to manage your financial affairs more easily:
- set up standing orders or direct debits for regular bills and subscriptions so they're paid on time
- have all your income, including pension and benefits, paid into your bank or building society account
- consider getting a chip and signature card – you only need supply your signature rather than a personal identification number (PIN)
- set up a third party mandate – this gives someone else access to your bank account; you can specify how much access to give (for example, a set amount for the weekly shop)
If you already have, or are considering setting up, a joint bank or building society account, remember that:
- each account holder can withdraw money without asking the other person
- you're each liable for the other's debts
- if you lose mental capacity and do not have an LPA, the bank may restrict the account to essential transactions
It's sensible to set up or keep a separate personal account for money that is not used for essential bills.
There are a range of benefits that you and your carer (if you have one) may be entitled to.
Some may be means-tested (whether you get them will depend on your financial situation). Others may depend on your National Insurance contributions or your health and care needs.
If you have not done so already, it's a good idea to get a needs assessment from social services.
This is free and can identify anything you may need help with. It may also show that you qualify for benefits, such as Attendance Allowance.
A carer can also apply to social services for a carer's assessment, which can show if they're eligible for support from their local council, including benefits such as Carer's Allowance.
Benefits for people with dementia
You may have extra expenses, such as paying for help at home, so it's important to make sure you're receiving all the benefits you're entitled to.
- Attendance Allowance – for those over State Pension age who need help at home; you can claim Attendance Allowance regardless of your income and savings
- Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – for those under State Pension age who need help at home
If you get Attendance Allowance, you may also be entitled to other benefits, such as:
Benefits for carers
As a carer, you may be entitled to one or more benefits to help you with the cost of caring, such as:
- Carer's Allowance – the main state benefit for people who look after someone for more than 35 hours a week
- Carer's Credit – a National Insurance (NI) credit for those under State Pension age and looking after someone for more than 20 hours a week
Claiming benefits on behalf of someone else
If you look after someone who cannot manage their money because they have lost mental capacity, you can apply for the right to claim their benefits.
Check what benefits you can get
Your local council has a duty to help you get independent financial advice so you can plan and prepare for future care costs.
This covers a range of services, from general sources of information and advice, such as websites or telephone helplines, to tailored advice relating to specific financial products that can only be provided by a regulated financial adviser.
Some of these services may charge a fee.
Get expert benefits advice, plus help filling in claim forms:
- Age UK on 0800 678 1602
- Independent Age on 0800 319 6789
- Citizens Advice on 0800 144 8848 (England) or 0800 702 2020 (Wales)
- Alzheimer's Society National Dementia Helpline on 0333 150 3456
Page last reviewed: 08/06/2021
Next review due: 08/06/2024