Money matters

People living with dementia may have always managed their own or their family's finances.  But at some point they may need extra support to help them.

Lasting power of attorney (LPA)

If you're living with dementia and can still make your own decisions (have mental capacity), it's a good idea to set up an LPA for your financial and property affairs.

Choose someone you trust to act as your attorney.  This means they can act on your behalf, and in your best interests, when you can no longer make decisions.

Once registered, the LPA can be used with your permission, even if you're still able to deal with many aspects of your finances yourself.  Or it can be held in readiness for when you can no longer make decisions.

Read more about lasting power of attorney.

Tips for making money easier to manage

There are steps you can take now to manage your financial affairs more easily:

  • set up standing orders and direct debits for regular bills and subscriptions so they're paid on time
  • have all your income, including pension and benefits, paid into your bank or building society account
  • consider getting a chip and signature card - you only need supply your signature rather than a personal identification number (PIN)
  • set up a third party mandate - this gives someone else access to your bank account; you can specify how much access to give (for example, a set amount for the weekly shop)

Read more tips from the Money Advice Service.

If you're a carer or friend of someone with dementia, find out how to help someone with dementia, find out how to help someone informally with day to day money.

Joint accounts

If you already have or are considering setting up a joint bank or building society account, remember that:

  • each account holder can withdraw money without asking the other person
  • you're each liable for the other's debts
  • if you lose mental capacity and don't have an LPA, the bank may restrict the account to essential transactions

It's sensible to set up or keep a separate personal account for money that isn't used for essential bills.

Benefits for people with dementia and their carers

There are a range of benefits that you and your carer, if you have one, may be entitled to.

Some may be means-tested (whether you get them will depend on your financial situation).  Others may depend on your National Insurance contributions or your health and care needs.

If you haven't done so already, it's a good idea to get a needs assessment from social services.

This is free and can identify anything you may need help with.  It may also show that you qualify for benefits, such as Attendance Allowance.

A carer can also apply to social services for a carer's assessment, which can show if they're eligible for support from their local council, including benefits such as Carer's Allowance.

Benefits for people with dementia

You may have extra expenses, such as paying for help at home, so it's important  to make sure you're receiving all the benefits you're entitled to.

These include:

  • Attendance Allowance - for over 65's who need help at home; you can claim Attendance Allowance regardless of your income and savings
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - for under 65s who need help at home

If you get Attendance Allowance, you may also be entitled to other benefits, such as:

Benefits for carers

As a carer, you may be entitled to one or more benefits to help you with the cost of caring, such as:

  • Carer's Allowance - the main state benefit for people who look after someone for more than 35 hours a week
  • Carer's Credit - a National Insurance (NI) credit for those under State Pension age and looking after someone for more than 20 hours a week

Claiming benefits on behalf of someone else

If you look after someone who can't manage their money because they have lost mental capacity, you can apply for the right to claim their benefits.

Getting financial advice for future care costs

Your local council has a duty to help you get independent financial advice so you can plan and prepare for future care costs.

This covers a range of services, from general sources of information and advice, such as websites or telephone helplines, to tailored advice relating to specific financial products that can only be provided by a regulated financial adviser.

Some of these services may be free of charge.

Read Age UK's information on planning for future care costs.

Get help and advice