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declaring assets to social services

(38 Posts)
joolz1954 Sun 22-Jan-17 12:04:05

we have recently gone through the process of a financial assessment for my elderly father about to go into a care home. we were absolutely open and above board with all assets, of course.
but I wondered whether everyone is so honest. how do social services check an elderly persons assets if they are not declared? how would they find out about old ISA's or premium bonds for example. or an old bank account?

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 14:18:37

Yes, Social Services can and do check on assets if they suspect fraud, and even not, particularly nowadays when they are so short of cash. It is probable difficult to check if the person concerned has kept all the money in cash in a sock under the mattress but
remember all banks, building societies and other financial organisations are bound by law to declare details of all the people who receive interest payments or dividends to HMRC and I know the DSS check benefit recipients assets against that information because I had a client who had to repay several thousand pounds through an inadvertent failure to declare an asset (she was old and ill).

They will also check whether the care receiver has given assets away, with or without legal arrangements, because if someone does give their assets away and SS can show it was with the intention of not paying for care fees, then the local authority will act as if the care receiver still owns that asset and not pay for social care.

If you give your house away decades before any care needs arise, but still live in it, you have to pay the market rent. I fyou don't, again it will be assumed that you still own the asset and the SS will act accordingly. I had a client in his 90s who had given his house to his children when he was in his 70s and because house prices and desirabilty had shot up, the rent he was paying 20 years later exceeded his pension and he was sitting in a huge valuable house, with nothing to live on (the Revenue check that the rent is being paid)

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 14:19:18

I posted too soon. Some people will succeed in cheating Social Services, but not many

TriciaF Sun 22-Jan-17 14:23:52

In France all public services can get a court order to access your bank accounts, (and take money out of them too), if you're in debt to them, or they suspect you're hiding something.
Can they do this in the UK too?

M0nica Sun 22-Jan-17 14:31:01

Yes, I think they can, although I am not sure what the exact procedure is.

Usually they just withdraw funding so the person who has hidden the assets is left with care home fees unpaid or help withdrawn if the help is not paid for.

A good rule is to never be too clever when dealing with any government body on financial issues. That especially applies to Inland Revenue and Customs.

Luckygirl Sun 22-Jan-17 14:50:45

They do check assets. And they can put a legal charge on them which means that any money owed to SSD can be taken out of what remains after the person's death.

joolz1954 Sun 22-Jan-17 15:02:01

thanks for those replies. i must stress, we arent planning to fraud anybody. we are all done and dusted, house sold, self funding. but it did cross my mind that social services accepted the paperwork we had and was there some way they could check further and do they check further or take the persons word for it.

tanith Sun 22-Jan-17 15:15:27

There are certainly ways they can check as the others have said and I'm sure at some point checks are made.

daphnedill Sun 22-Jan-17 16:33:56

If you belong to Experian, they have details of all sorts of assets. I once signed up for a free trial and was amazed at how much they knew about me, including savings accounts I'd completely forgotten about.

I expect the DWP have access to Experian. I know they can check bank/credit card accounts and will query payments when there is no declared source of income. They also check property purchases and sales. I know that, because I was contacted about a property transaction from years ago. (It was all above board.)

I'm sure there are ways of defrauding the system, but I don't know of any - and I can't afford the accountants to do it for me!

mansfield382 Thu 02-Mar-17 12:52:46

Coming late to this, but I'm afraid local authorities can go back a number of years to reclaim any assets given away if they suspect 'deliverate deprivation' i.e. to avoid care home fees.

In the meantime though have a look at which is trying to negotiate lower fees for self funders.

ninathenana Thu 02-Mar-17 16:02:14

I pray neither I nor H ever need care.
We have been morgage free for 9 yrs now. We could not afford to pay our children the market rent for this house if we signed it over anyway and it's a fairly modest 3 bed semi. I'm curious, would the rent rule still apply as our son who can't live independantly lives with us and will do so for the forseeable future. I know they can't say we need to sell if in our name and one or other of us still lives here but will defer until the other person is no longer living here.

Flossieturner Fri 03-Mar-17 09:41:06

Nina speak to a solicitor about leaving your house in trust to your son. I would also think about making you and your husband tenants in common rather than joint tenants. If your son will need supporting financially after you have died, it might be possible for the house to finance his care. Have you made PoAs for all three of you?

NemosMum Fri 03-Mar-17 09:53:21

Just an aside. The person can pay for their funeral up-front, and that is a legitimate thing to do. The LAs may not like it, but it's legal and sensible. There's a couple of organisations which will guarantee this & the funeral directors have to belong to the schemes, in case they have gone bust when the time comes.

Whitehair123 Fri 03-Mar-17 09:53:57

Have noted comments about fraud etc. All I will say that as a landlord of a private house, my mother's aged 91, living with my sister for care, it is amazing the number of tenants who are committing fraud by claiming housing benefit they are not actually entitled to. What is more amazing is even when these frauds are brought to the attention of the local authority nothiing is done as these frauds are now dealt with centrally by central govt and not local authority. The benefit claims are currently still submitted to the local authority and because of staff cuts they don't have the time to look at claims properly, checking bank account information, reports of people who actually are couples but claiming as two separate individuals etc, so fraud in this area of benefits is rife and we are all paying for it.

My mother pays tax on her modest income, we are not buy to let big boys, just trying to cover the costs of maintaining the house and her living expenses , it makes me sick to see these frauds for quite large sums of money going unaddressed. New fraud teams set up are there to deal with the importing cigarettes and booze type scenarios, fraud detection on benefit fraud is minimal, and only very few cases make it to prosecutions and paper headline status.

So, bit of a rant but more examples of the innocent get penalised because they declare everything honestly and the criminals continue to get away with it.

Having worked for a local authority my comments are from hard facts and not political ideology.

Some people deserve financial support and should get it, many though are frauds and are costing this country a huge amount of money, no wonder the welfare bill is sky high. More money spent on fraud detection would make sure the money goes to the people who deserve it.

Rant over.

Jaycee5 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:05:29

Whitehaven123 There are over 2,500 people employed in preventing benefit fraud. The number of people employed in preventing tax fraud is less than 200.
People on benefits are already being demonised and accused of being dishonest.
The DWP includes people making a mistake which means that they get less than they are entitled to as fraud and figures are given for 'fraud and error' which includes their own mistakes.
Any large financial system has a certain amount of fraud but the amount in the benefit system is far less than in most others of a similar size.
Authorities do deal with complaints of fraud, the vast majority of which are found to be malign. Maybe 'nothing was done about it' because there was no fraud.
The DWP is very hot on fraud. I had a visit from them asking me about a neighbour who was claiming income support as a single father but not claiming child benefit and they asked me if I had seen him with a child. They are clearly pro-active in trying to cut fraud.
Trying kicking up rather than down.

Rigby46 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:08:45

So Whitehair you rent out one house and in the basis of that know that there is widespread HB cheating? And you are quite happy to benefit from it as the HB goes to you and is funded by tax. Some landlords won't take tenants on HB - you could decide that and then you wouldn't be condoning this widespread fraud would you?

Crazygrandma2 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:09:37

I would only add, for general information, that if someone is going into care/nursing home because of a continuing health need, rather than needing social care, then they should be funded through the Continuing Health Care budget and therefore have their needs paid for by the state. Not everyone seems to know of its existence.

Rigby46 Fri 03-Mar-17 10:09:46

Good post Jaycee

GrandmaMoira Fri 03-Mar-17 10:41:17

Regarding benefit fraud, there are many people nowadays getting their benefit stopped for very petty reasons and food banks are essential for many people. However, there is definitely a small minority who are still managing to twist the system and receive benefits they should not be getting.

Bijou Fri 03-Mar-17 10:55:40

I know of two persons who gave money to daughters in order to claim Pension Credit. I would not be able to sleep at night but there are always people who have no conscience.

MargaretinNorthant Fri 03-Mar-17 10:59:32

I tried to get continuing health care for my husband when he went into care because of Lewy Body Dementia, together with heart and thyroid conditions. Dementia is apparently not considered an illness in Northamptonshire. We paid £1000 a week for his care, during which time he was abused by a care worker, slapped in the face and his lip cut open. She was seen to do it by a co-worker, the case went to court and was dismissed as one person's word against another. We are presently taking the whole thing to court again but have been told there is very little hope of winning.
The guilt I feel at having let him go in cannot be described. He died 7 months after going in by which time he was just a body lying in the foetal position and responding only to my voice. So good luck in getting any help from Continuing Care. If you are in the last stages of cancer you might be lucky, but probably not if you have ever smoked......they would say it was self inflicted.

Jaycee5 Fri 03-Mar-17 12:02:19

Grandmoir Surely your first comment is more important than your second. There will always be shoplifters but that does not mean that all shoppers should be frisked as they go in the store. It does not mean that every topic about shopping should descend into a discussion about shoplifters nor that shoppers should be asked what they are going to do about shoplifting or why they shouldn't find it reasonable to be searched in case they make be one themselves.

sarahellenwhitney Fri 03-Mar-17 12:08:41

I cared for my late husband in the last three years before he passed away when his vascular dementia and Tia's had became worse.
His care worker arranged for respite now and then to give me a rest. I had to pay half for this care as MY assets from a small inheritance , not my husbands,. would not allow him full state benefit while in these care homes.I felt extremely insulted when our finances were looked into and the person carrying this out commented it was not unknown for other members of the family to''look after anothers money'' to obtain free care .

Foxyferret Fri 03-Mar-17 12:21:04

When my father died in 2014, the DWP asked me as the executor to write to each bank/ building society to get statements as far back as possible. This is because he was on pension credit and their information " didn't match" his records. When we asked exactly what didn't match they would not tell us. Most statements went back to 2008, no records were kept by the bank before this. We knew Dad did not owe any money as he had very little. Unfortunately, Dad had many small accounts at lots of different places as he did not believe in putting all his eggs in the same basket. It took my sister and I over a year to do all the paperwork. I think there were 10 different accounts and a small number of shares. The amount of letter writing and getting photo copies you would not believe. As we knew, at the end of the day, Dad owed no one anything but the stress and worry put on my 91 year old mother was awful. I did wonder at the time why we had to do it if they could have done it themselves, but everything was fine in the end.

NaughtyNanna Fri 03-Mar-17 12:47:15

Not directly related to the Op but please, please if you are looking into care homes and fess, consider renting the person's property out.The rental income plus pension(s) and any attendance allowance can often be enough to pay the fees for as long as it takes and the asset (the house) is kept in the family. As this is the wish of many people needing care, it can be a great comfort to know that the house is still there. Self funders also have far more choice of home.