If someone is unable to manage their own finances, the Department of Work and Pensions (opens in a new window) (DWP) can appoint someone to act for them in everything to do with benefit claims.
This includes signing all forms and telling the DWP about changes in circumstances. As the appointee has the same rights and responsibilities as the benefit claimant, they will deal with any correspondence and may be liable for paying back any overpayment if it is recoverable.
The appointee is usually a friend or relative, but can also be an organisation like a housing association, or in some circumstances, the local council. The person applying to be an appointee must be over 18.
The office dealing with a benefit claim at the DWP can also deal with the request to become an appointee. This appointment can deal with all DWP benefits but a separate application is needed for Housing and Council Tax benefit, this should be made to the local district council. To apply to the DWP for appointeeship you need to complete a BF56, available for your local Job Centre.
The DWP are likely to visit the person that has applied, and the person on whose behalf they will be acting. This is to ensure that the appointee is an appropriate person to act in this capacity and check the claimant is in need of an appointee. If the DWP feel that the claimant does not need an appointee, they will not grant the request.
If you have concerns about whether an appointee is acting in the best interest of the claimant, you can raise this with DWP (opens in a new window).
The DWP has a guide for appointees (opens in a new window) that will give you further information.