Strokes can happen suddenly and have a huge impact, including on finances. If a loved one has had a stroke and you're suddenly left to deal with their finances, here are some tips on how to manage that.
Get a third party mandate
Many banks allow someone to operate a bank account for another person on a short-term basis (usually about four months). This is known as a third-party mandate. It's an agreement between the account holder and a nominee they trust (such as a relative or carer) to access bank accounts, pay bills or withdraw money.
To do this, the account holder can write to the bank or use the bank's third party mandate form, which can be found on the bank's website. If a person is unable to organise a third party mandate, then a nominated person can apply for an emergency third party mandate by contacting the individual bank and explaining the situation.
Contact the benefits office
If someone is claiming benefits, the relative or carer must call the office that pays the benefit as soon as possible. This is because claims may be stopped or reduced if a hospital stay is not reported. You can apply to become an 'appointee' so you can manage their benefits, including state pension. As an appointee, you're responsible for making and maintaining their benefit claims. Someone from the Department of Work and Pensions will assess you and the person you care for, to check that an appointee is needed and that you are suitable.
To apply to be an appointee, phone the helpline for the benefits they're receiving. For example, if they receive Disability Living Allowance, contact the disability benefits helpline. To find out more about becoming an appointee, visit your relevant government's website and search 'benefits appointee':
England and Wales: gov.uk
Northern Ireland: nidirect.gov.uk
Check for any financial support
Stroke can turn your finances upside down. If you or your loved ones find yourselves struggling, check what support might be available to you. For example if you live in a rented property, you might be able to get benefits or grants from your local council to help with the cost of renting. If you're a homeowner on certain benefits, you might be eligible for Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI), to help pay interest on loans or mortgages.
It's also worth contacting your energy supplier, who may be able to offer you a payment plan. The British Gas Energy Trust also supports people facing financial hardship, and you don't have to be British Gas customer.
Stroke News magazine
This article is featured in the summer 2022 edition of our magazine, Stroke News. Subscribe to our future editions available in print, on audio CD, or via email.