Advice on UK SS please

Hi again

Don't know if anyone can help. My mother in law returned to the uk in december 2012 and rented a small bungalow paid for from her savings. She receives the state pension so isn't exactly flushed with money. Her savings have now dwindled and is finding it difficult to pay the rent & bills etc.

Does anyone know the rules and regs concerning state assistance in such cases. Would she be entitled to any help with the rent etc ?

She is 83 and quite frail following breaking a leg earlier on in the year. Her sister in law has been staying with her since leaving hospital a few weeks back.

What are her options from the state point of view.

I have offered her to come back to France to live with me but she doesn't wish for this.

Thanks in advance

Thank you Jane, I tried to think how it would be in the same situation and having to do some soul searching. It is not easy, but it is a point of view only and not a directive.

Peter, Brian is being very sensible.
She has refused your assistance and gone back to her family, so as far as you are concerned end of story.
Speaking to her brother would probably put your mind at rest.
Just remember you cannot help those who do not want it.

I have been rereading and thinking about it. Your dilemma is that she is your late wife's mother. Using your own words that you no legal obligations for her and even less feelings for but have a feeling of moral responsibility puts you in a tricky position. If you assume the position of being the 'next of kin' and doing it from here, it is very possible you will need to be assessed to see whether you should pay for any of the services that cannot be covered by the state.

Remembering what it cost my sister to get some support for our father toward the end of his life, but now eight years ago and clearly more expensive is something to think about. I believe you fulfilled any moral obligations whilst she was here and now that you are not part of the 'closest' family she moved here to be close to you hardly need feel as you do. If possible, talk to her brother and see what can be done. She has clearly turned her back on you and whilst setting her on the right path would be asking more than enough and it is also very good of you to do it, to then carry any responsibility may be just taking it a bit too far. It strikes me that there you could seek the advice of Age UK and save yourself any deep involvement you do not want.

I didn't mean the case workers or social workers, I meant social services - as a body - being far from subtle in the sense that if age has dulled the mind a bit, understanding some of what is said and can be done for people is not always the most comprehensible. I think the hands on people do their best, which is often excellent to the point of being heroic, given they are part of a bureaucracy with an entirely other language and can put off people who are already inclined against. That is, I gather, where Age UK are a bit better at explaining things.

I agree Irene. The county council Adult Care Social worker who was my mother's caseworker was excellent and far from heavy handed. So was his successor.

Yes, thanks Jane. Irene sent me the link to Age UK in an earlier post. They look like the kind of body who would be perfect to contact for more help and info. Their website is very helpful.

Possibly the best option, social services are often not 'subtle'.

Peter, perhaps your mother in law would be more happy dealing with someone from Age UK who could help her.

You can always contact them on her behalf and find out what they can do to help.

Thanks David & Brian. Actually it is my Mother in Law which makes it more tricky. It would have been ten times easier if it had been my mum ! My late wife was an only child though MiL does have a brother with family members near to her plus my son who works about an hour away. She is a very proud woman, one could say a snob who needs to be convinced she is not 'too good' to receive state assistance whatever her financial state !

She moved over following late retirement about ten years ago with a view to spending her last years with her closest family here in France. Unfortunately the plan went haywire when her daughter, my good lady passed away before her ! She was left with a problem. She had no desire to stay with me where she would have been looked after instead opting to return to her 'comfort zone' of bingo and bad weather on the East Coast !

I have no legal obligations to this woman and even less feelings for her but I do feel morally responsable. As I said, I was prepared tp look after her but she refused.

It is all the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) nowadays. The sites Irene suggest are as good as it gets. Unfortunately they have to be formally mandated to deal with your mother's issues by you. A nearby Scot who has an ancient mother was told categorically to sign X that is available on line then send it in by post. She does not even have a computer and has never used one. My OH printed it off for her to sign and send in. However it seems to have come to nothing although it might well be that because she is not on email she is not receiving any responses. I suspect DWP is an unmanageable vast department where finding who is responsible is also difficult.

They do also clearly liaise with social services or at least social services with them. You can apply for a needs assessment by social services through her local council. I cannot say more since the woman mentioned above is from Scotland where all of the arrangements are completely different to England and Wales and from what I gathered when she was talking to my OH have different procedures.

Peter you need to get in touch with the Social Services department of the local authority in which your mother lives. A social worker will then be able to help her regarding any benefits she is in a position to claim and if necessary to put together a suitable support service for her.

Many thanks Irene, some interesting reading there.

It's been decades since I had any dealings with the SS in the UK so would the department be within the confines of the Town Hall or more likely under the juristiction of the Social Security offices ? I'm really very ignorant of these matters in the UK tho' i've been there, done it and got the T shirt in France !

The most telling for me is the 'claiming benefits' link which states that £5 billion or so goes UNCLAIMED annually ! Now that's a serious amount of money swilling around in the system !