I am glad that my initial response helped to clarify the position regarding income related ESA for you. In relation to your two further queries:
- As you are already appointee for your daughter for PIP purposes, you will also be able to act as her appointee for her ESA application.
As her appointee you have a duty to manage your daughter’s money on her behalf. Although the money will be paid into your bank account, you should have a separate account which your daughter’s benefits are paid into, so that your money and her money are clearly kept separately. You have a legal duty to ensure that all expenditure from the account benefits your daughter and are in her best interests.
If the DWP thought that you were not carrying out your legal duties properly then you could be removed as appointee and they could try to recover the benefits paid from you.
Whilst the benefits are paid into an account held in your name, there should be sufficient paperwork for the bank to be satisfied that the money belongs to your daughter, rather than you, and that you are just holding it for her.
If you have not already done so, you could consider setting up a trust for your daughter. You may then be able to move her benefits out of the account held in your name and into the trust. Mencap has a wills and trust service which will be able to offer you more information and advice about this. You can contact them on 0207 696 6925 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whilst I haven’t come across a local authority charging for the residential care aspect of schooling, they do have the power to do so.
Even if your daughter does not claim ESA, if she is entitled to do so, and the local authority decide to charge her for the residential care aspect of her schooling, the local authority could treat her as if she were receiving it. Therefore, there would be no advantage in not claiming the benefit, as she would still be charged as if she were receiving it.
If you are in any way concerned about future charges for your daughter’s schooling, you should speak to your local authority and ask them to explain how your daughter’s care part of her schooling is funded, and whether this will change during the duration of her time at the school.
I hope this helps, but if you need any further assistance please do reply and we will get back to you as soon as possible. You can also contact Mencap Direct on 0808 808 1111.