Please help my partner find a way to get financial admin help for his ADHD
November 6, 2010 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Help! Looking for UK resources for my partner with ADHD who can't cope with admin, legal and money matters and who's frustrated at every turn by companies insisting they will only deal with him and that other people can't do things on his behalf.

My partner lives in England and has ADHD. He can manage to do his daytime job but not anything on top of it, he therefore runs into problems with tax, council tax, statutory repairs, utilities, bills and banks. I have ADHD too, so am of limited help, but can be of some help. The problem is that even if I can get a bit of free time to help or make calls on his behalf, or pay someone like an accountant to do it, a lot of companies/organisations will only deal with him. We can't get round it by getting married as the paperwork for him getting divorced falls into this same problem. Are there legal or other routes we could pursue to enable someone to deal with these matters for him? Are there organisations which could help us?
posted by Flitcraft to Work & Money (15 answers total)
Best answer: Have you tried "I'd like you to make a note on my account that X has been given permission to speak on my behalf"? That's always worked for me.
posted by Leon at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2010

If he's falling behind with bills and stuff, he should be able to get a CAB advisor to ring on his behalf. Only the sleaziest of businesses will refuse a CAB advisor because everyone is aiming to get the bill paid and that's what they want.

Short of the CAB (if he's in a low service area) a social worker would work, or a mental health team. Try getting him support through a local ADHD group.

At the very least with third parties intervening they should stop being such blowhards about who they deal with.
posted by shinybaum at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2010

Best answer: (in fact I've advised people to refuse to deal with rent collectors etc. before now and had all communications go through a third party to prevent harrassment/stress and it's always worked if the company thinks their chances of getting paid are increased)
posted by shinybaum at 1:53 PM on November 6, 2010

Best answer: Most of this he should not actively have to take care of - council tax, utilities, most of my other bills all can be paid by monthly direct debits. As long as he gets paid regularly he doesn't have to do anything at all as they'll just take the payments.

Banking can be done online by anybody at all with his online what you really need is somebody to basically take him by the hand and get all this stuff set up to run itself so that he only every has to 'deal' with any unusual/one off stuff.

Any good friend willing to spare a day to sift through his papers and help get stuff set up in this way or a PA type person is what he needs - he'd probably have to be around when this is done and occasionally take the receiver at the exact point when 'the account owner' needs to physically talk to 'organisation' to arrange this, or sign forms etc.

But it should be feasible to reduce this burden considerably.
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2010

Power of attorney.
posted by Biru at 1:58 PM on November 6, 2010

Most banks will take the line that once you give your password to anyone, all fraud however caused is your fault. Don't do this without legal cover of some sort

This site might help - you'll need someone with integrity to act as an LPA with strict limitations only to act in domestic finance, but IANAL.
posted by cromagnon at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2010

Best answer: I'd also explore less formal options - e.g. get someone else to work out a direct debit regime that works - before a POA, which carries significant risks of abuse.
posted by cromagnon at 2:20 PM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: The biggest problems have been things that come out of left field thanks to the joys of the English property owning system, and also things that have surfaced from bad times in his past eg. tax, also a council tax debt he'd never heard of from years back passed onto a bailiff and things where direct debits need to be set up or changed. Being able to deal with the bank would be huge help or being able to tackle the council for example.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:46 PM on November 6, 2010

Best answer: He can give someone third party authority on his bank account by completing a form at his bank. The third party would need to provide photo ID and proof of address. Otherwise a General Power of Attorney might be appropriate.

A General Power of Attorney is used when the person making the Power (the donor) wants someone to act on his behalf for only a set period of time or for specific events, when the donor's age and health make it unlikely that he would lose mental capacity during the duration of the GPA. It applies only to property and financial affairs and it cannot be used to authorise someone to make decisions concerning his personal welfare.

This is very different from a Lasting Power of Attorney, which has to be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian, and which would only take effect if and when the donor becomes mentally confused and incapable of making decisions. At that point, the LPA would kick in and the attorney would then make all decisions for the donor. As your partner is holding down a job and living independently, he doesn't appear to lack mental capacity, he's just finding it hard to copy.
posted by essexjan at 3:52 PM on November 6, 2010

copy cope
posted by essexjan at 3:53 PM on November 6, 2010

The biggest problems have been things that come out of left field thanks to the joys of the English property owning system, and also things that have surfaced from bad times in his past eg. tax, also a council tax debt he'd never heard of from years back passed onto a bailiff and things where direct debits need to be set up or changed.

Hmm, is he being caught out because he just can't focus on fixing this stuff or is he being caught out because he can't afford to fix it or both.

Because if this is about him not paying bills on time anybody can help with that.

If it's about challenging the validity of demands the Citizen's Advice Bureau would be able to advise him and help him with that...

If it's about talking to HMRC about tax demands you may want an accountant to advise on that and indeed do the talking.

Unless you can make your question a bit clearer in terms of exactly what he's not doing that needs to be done people can't really point you in the right direction.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:03 PM on November 6, 2010

Because if this is about him not paying bills on time - what I mean is he forgets to pay not can't afford to pay. If he can't afford it either Citizen's Advice Bureau...
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:04 PM on November 6, 2010

Response by poster: He can afford it, but can't focus on fixing it, so it doesn't get done, so eg. tax accountant asks him to get bits of paper from company x, he, after ages, remembers to phone company x, they then don't send him what he needs, at this stage he completely forgets and so accountant doesn't get bits of paper and tax form doesn't get done. Factor suddenly asks for money which isn't covered by current direct debit, he keeps forgetting to speak to factor, if he remembers to do that he then forgets or procrastinates the next stage, to deal with the direct debit. Bailiff turns up wanting a council tax bill from years ago, to dispute this he has to phone a council official, he remembers to do this a few times, but council official never answers phone, so this gets forgotten too etc etc etc. He needs to be able to put someone who wont forget or procrastinate onto these tasks but then the officials insist they will only deal with him.
posted by Flitcraft at 4:23 PM on November 6, 2010

When I was someone's assistant, I dealt with a lot of personal things for them by getting them to 'authorize me'. I would wait on hold with the phone company for ten minutes, and when someone finally came on the line, I would give them the account information. Then he would jump on, identify himself and say, 'please speak with my assistant x. You are authorized to discuss this account with her and she can make decisions on my behalf'.
posted by bq at 10:16 PM on November 6, 2010

Not an easy situation, if he:- can't afford a professional advisor; doesn't want to lose autonomy by taking out a power of attorney; and there is no friend/family with the time and resources to help long-term. Asking each bank etc what mandate they need in order to deal with a nominated third party sounds like a good start.

Citizens Advice Bureaux will negotiate with creditors and advise on debt options, and may be able to write on someone's behalf in other one-off situations. But, they will not generally provide ongoing support, in that CAB generally rely on the client coming to them with information on the problem that needs resolving, rather than regularly intervening and checking. (NB, the CAB themselves will generally not take action on "third party" enquiries, he would need to approach them himself).

This sounds more like a situation for a citizen advocate in the first instance, if only to ensure that he engages with the CAB or his legal representative.

Social landlords often provide "floating support" workers, he may not need to be a tenant if there are serious issues where he needs help. It may also be worth checking if there are any "financial inclusion" projects in his area, which could provide the support needed in this case. CAB or GP should be able to provide details.

He could even ask for a social services assessment.

Specifically for dealing with benefits and tax credits, he may want to assign an appointee.
posted by wilko at 8:41 AM on November 7, 2010

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