Tuesday, 16 March 2010

A Family at War

There must be something in the air and it is not Spring. It is just over a year since I wrote the post Happy Families about the turmoil within my family. Now I find myself penning another post along the same lines. What is it, I wonder, about this time of the year? After I brought my mother up to Cheshire from Sussex, in April last year my relationship with my brother improved and recently when he has visited my mother I have invited him back here for a cup of tea. Only a few weeks ago the two of us enjoyed a chat and a cup of tea in our snug. Little did I know that behind the scenes he was up to his old tricks. I now regret that second chance that I gave him. I should have known that a leopard does not change its' spots.

Last month one Saturday morning there was a telephone call for me, just as I was sitting down to breakfast. I know that we are not early risers at the weekend but this call was from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). I thought that they were a Monday to Friday 9-5 operation. And this is the second time in a few months that they have phoned me at this time on a Saturday. It won't happen again. The phone now stays switched off, at the weekend, until after we have had breakfast. Husband watched with puzzled concern as he listened to my half of the conversation. My brother had written to the DWP asking for my mother's benefits to be paid to him. I was furious. When I managed to get my mother into a residential home near to me in Cheshire, he agreed that I would be responsible for my mother's welfare which strictly speaking includes her benefits. At that time the only benefit that she was getting was the state pension as my brother had not bothered to apply for the attendance allowance to which she was also entitled by virtue of being over 65 and having a long term health problem. So it was me who went to the trouble of completing the lengthy application form, on my mother's behalf for attendance allowance. After weeks of deliberation the DWP awarded my mother attendance allowance and decided to pay it to me, in the full knowledge that my brother was in the process of registering Power of Attorney in my mother's name. DWP rules meant that Mum's state pension would also be paid to me. Up until then that had been paid into my mother's account, which my brother had access to.

I use the money to pay for any clothes that my mother needs, toiletries, sweets, hairdressing, chiropody and dental charges and at the end of each month I have transferred the unspent money into my mother's bank account, which meant that my brother had access to it albeit a week or two later than if it was paid to him. But that is not good enough for my brother. He wants the benefits paid to him, which means that I have to spend my money, rather than my mother's money, on my mother. Then claim back from him what I have spent. Since I brought my mother up here my part time job has become very part time, as I have had to turn down some offers of work, which means that I really do not earn enough to support the level of spending necessary some months. As it is I have to buy everything for my mother separately and keep the receipts. Claiming back what I have spent is another unnecessary hurdle in my already complicated life. How much money does he need? He already has access to my parents/mother's savings and now that my mother's bungalow has sold, he has the six figure proceeds from that to think about. I know that he pays the care home fees out of the savings, but does he really need Mum's benefits as well? It is a matter of principal and I have to ask myself how much lower can he stoop?

The DWP have advised me that benefits do not have to be paid to the holder of Power of Attorney, but because my brother has asked for them to be paid to him they have to do so.

34 comments:

The Dotterel said...

That sounds awful CW. I'm so sorry things are so complicated and unnecessary. After all, being responsible for someone's welfare - as you are - is enough. I really hope can you sort this out to your satisfaction.

Carol said...

Now that is extremely unfair and underhanded!! If you are responsible for her day-to-day care why the hell is he after her benefits? There must be something you can do...

I'm so sorry your having to deal with this on top of everything else!!

*hugs*

C x

Maggie May said...

I am really sorry about this. I cannot understand why your brother won't trust you with it as you have done such a good job with the finances and what you do seems very fair.
There seems to be unpleasantness caused by some, in every family.

Nuts in May

imbeingheldhostage said...

I would fight this CW!! You CAN'T be paying for your mother's needs out of your account and expect to be reimbursed. THAT's what the benefits are for-- to take care of the person they are intended for. I smell a big huge skunk in his actions, I'm am SO sorry this nightmare continues for you.

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cheshire wife said...

Carol - I could apply to have the Power of Attorney suspended but that would cost £400 and there is no guarantee that it would be suspended. I can think of better things to send the money on.

imbeingheldhostage - I couldn't agree with you more.

the fly in the web said...

I am so sorry you have all this worry.
Mr.Fly's brother is just such another manipulating so and so in respect of their mother...even managing to sell off property she had abroad and turning the proceeds into silver bars to keep it out of bank accounts.
He controls access to her and foments all sorts of problems that en elderly lady just doesn't need, quite apart from the distress caused to Mr. Fly and their sister.

We too have learned the hard way that it is impossible to deal with him.

Linda said...

Very disheartening post to read CW and to think that it is your brother who is behind this. I'm amazed he can sleep at night. Karma comes to my mind. I truly hope you can sort this out CW♥

Valerie said...

This is so distressing for you. Your brother should be ashamed of himself. He obviously doesn't care much for his mother or you.
Family disputes are the worst kind, I feel so sorry for you.

Limey said...

There's almost nothing one can say with these situations. I have seen in my husband's family how money turned siblings against on another and when the responsibility of a sick parent is forced onto only one child. It's horrible and endlessly frustrating. My mother-in-law is one of seven children and she alone cared for their mother in the painful, difficult final years of her life. The rest of the siblings wouldn't even chip in for the funeral and rarely saw her. Then, once she had died, they all came out like cockroaches scavenging for the very little belongings she left behind.

We just have to remember that the sick, sad world inside people's heads that make them behave that way is their curse and you will be rewarded in the long term for your devotion.

Will keep thinking of you and crossing my fingers for a turn around.

Akelamalu said...

I suggest you tell your brother straight that you are not prepared to do this. If he wants control of the money then tell him you will give him a weekly list of your mother's needs and you expect him to make sure that she gets them. See how he likes that.

I know it's your brother but what a cad he is, sorry. x

cheshire wife said...

Akelamalu - there is no need to apologise for what you think of my brother. I have a four letter word to describe him.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Oh, I'm so, so sorry...I think you need to speak to him about this, or do something...this should NOT be!!!! Will pray for you!!! love you, Janine XO

cheshire wife said...

S and S - I have tried reasoning with him. All I get is arrogance and rudeness.

CG said...

CW, this is awful. I'm so angry for you. I read the other posts about your brother - he sounds "delightful" - not!

French Fancy said...

Words fail me, CW. They really do.Oh, ok then...

You have done so much for your mum and he has done sweet F.A. I guess with his behaviour now and also in the past, he is the sort of person who is not even aware that what he is doing is just wrong. He clearly does not understand the slightest thing about the right way to behave. You have all my sympathies.

In the years to come - if financial irregularities are involved - there are measures that you will be able to follow. The onus will on him to prove that he took his Power of Attorney affairs seriously and not just to siphon off money for his own ends.

In the meantime you are doing all you can to care for her in a loving daughterly way and he is just using the whole thing as a cash cow exercise. What a scumbag he is.

cheshire wife said...

FF - I knew that you wouldn't be stuck for words.

JJ said...

Umm, leopard, spots definitely don't change - never will.
I have not had any contact with my pig headed arrogant brother since our father died and it's great!
if i were you, i would insist he is made responsible for all your mother's needs but of course you must put her welfare first.
Appease your conscience by doing what you know is right and let your brother wallow in his small mindedness and greed.
Is he a happy bunny? I doubt it!
JJ

Catharine Withenay said...

So sorry you are having to deal with financial worries as well as looking after your mother. Sometimes the world seems horribly imbalanced. I hope you and your brother can resolve it satisfactorily for both sides.

Cathy said...

Hope this is sorted soon CW - apart from the personal worry of your Mums care and mental state there's the worry of having to fund your Mum's needs and then hope you'll be refunded.
Just not on at all - theres aways one B.....d in every family
Cathy

Susie Vereker said...

How awful. I do hope you can sort this out.
Perhaps he could pay you a regular allowance for her needs, then settle up later if he is determined to be such a control freak.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

What a terribly mean minded thing for your brother to do, CW. You have to take care of your mother's needs and your brother has control of the money. I would challenge him about it and if you do I really hope you gain back control. A

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I'm so sorry. What is it with families? Many of us share these issues, so you are not alone. Take good care.

Rob-bear said...

How absolutely dreadful!

Is there any way you can get the money paid to you instead of your brother.

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Working Mum said...

Akelamalu's suggestion seems a good one. If he has the money, he buys her stuff. You shouldn't have to pay out of your own money and claim it back when you mother has her own money that could go straight to you.

I hope that there is more amicable way to solve this problem, but if I were you I'd try to get to the bottom of why he doesn't want you to handle the money. Why does he have power of attorney if you are the one dealing with things?

I'm sorry to say, I smell a rat here. When people aren't open and honest about money, they are usually doing something they shouldn't.

If all else fails, you'l get your reward in heaven.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

re: your comment on my blog...I think you may be very right! I do so hope your situation can be corrected soon...you've been in my thoughts a lot this week!!! Love you, Janine XO

Thud said...

Sorry about your problem as aged parents are exhausting in themselves. I am moving my mother into a cottage I am restoring and my sisters give me free run on all decisions...I have great siblings.

LindyLouMac said...

Catching up with my blogging friends now we are home, sorry to hear you are having such a ghastly time.

cheshire wife said...

WM - no need to apologise for smelling a rat!

Thud - I hope that your siblings continue to be great. I think that you may need the help of your sisters further down the line.

LLM - I hope that you had a good holiday. Nice to hear from you.

Joey said...

I have to say, there must be one in every family. You've got to get this resolved.

He's being petty and underhanded. He's not thinking of your Mother.... No, this isn't right at all.

I wish I could help you.

Holly said...

My heart goes out to you ... wish families could work together. Seems like it so seldom happens.

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