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A mother and son with a brain injury sit on the back of a tractor trailer illustrating the difficulties of dealing with Mental Capacity and finances when your child reaches the age of eighteen.

For parents that have looked after a disabled child throughout their childhood, matters can become more complicated once they reach the age of eighteen.

Benefits for people aged 18 and older

If you need to deal with the receipt of benefits for your adult child, you will need to arrange to become an appointee with the DWP to manage their benefits moving forwards.

The DWP will permit one person to be appointed to act on behalf of someone who is mentally incapable or severely disabled. An appointee will be responsible for making and maintain any benefits claims. They will have control of ensuring that the benefits received are spent in the best interests of the claimant.

Wider financial Affairs

Where the required management of the child’s financial affairs stretches beyond the receipt and use of benefit payments, an application to the Court of Protection will be required to appoint a Deputy for Property and Affairs.

A parent can apply to become the Deputy to permit them to continue to care for the child.

Health matters

Decisions in relation to health and welfare matters also become a little more complicated to deal with. Routine consents for routine treatment should not be problematic as any liability for their performance should be covered by S5 of the Mental Capacity Act 2005 which allows routine health and welfare decisions to be taken where they are in the person’s best interest.

General matter will usually be dealt with in coordination with adult services and the court prefers for these to be dealt with in a multi-disciplinary approach with any medical professionals and social workers having an input. Parent views are usually considered in any decision-making forum.

The court will look at the appointment of a welfare deputy if the systems in place are not working and there has been a breakdown in relationships.

The court’s preference is to receive applications for approval on specific welfare decisions. For example, the court will need to give approval for restraint or deprivation of liberty or decisions relating to end of life.

There are some cases where the court will grant a health and welfare deputyship for parents giving a limited decision-making ability. For example, where there is likely to be a series of linked welfare decisions for a child that parents have cared for to date.


Written by Eve Carter of Hudgell Solicitors

Eve Carter is National Head of Court of Protection Services at Brain Injury Group member firm Hudgell Solicitors and specialises in Mental Capacity and Court of Protection issues.

Hudgell Solicitors serve clients nationwide and have offices in Hull, London and Manchester.

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