Having someone act on your behalf

You can choose to have someone else act on your behalf in your dealings with us. We call them an agent. You can choose what you want your agent to do for you.

In most cases, we'll only let someone represent you if you agree to it.

Why have an agent

You can have an agent for any reason. This may be because:

  • you're overseas
  • you have difficulty communicating
  • you have mobility issues that makes it physically hard to go to our offices
  • you're sick or unwell
  • you're living in residential care or an institution
  • you want help or advice with a decision we've made
  • you've been served a trespass notice which says you cannot enter our offices.
  • Who can be your agent

    Your agent can be a person or an organisation.

    Depending on what you want your agent to do, the most appropriate person may be either:

    • a family member
    • someone you trust
    • a person or an organisation that cares for you, but not your Youth Service provider if you have one
    • an advocate
    • a lawyer.

    You can have more than one agent. They may represent you for different things. For example, you may have a family member who fills in forms for you and an advocate who represents you in a dispute with us.

    Who cannot be your agent

    We can choose not to work with an agent you appointed if we have a good reason, for example:

    • they're under 18 and not your partner
    • they cannot enter our offices because of a trespass notice.
  • What your agent can do

    You're responsible for deciding what your agent can and cannot do.

    You can allow your agent to do things like:

    • get personal information we hold about you
    • tell us information on your behalf, eg change of address or income
    • get your mail from us
    • complete and sign application forms on your behalf
    • have authority over your affairs, as granted by a current Power of Attorney
    • be paid part or all of your benefit on your behalf if there's a good reason, eg:
      • you're sick or unwell and cannot physically withdraw money or manage your finances
      • you're living in residential care or an institution
      • you're misusing your benefit payment and the wellbeing of your family is put at risk.

    You can still talk to us and act for yourself when you have an agent. You can choose to remove your agent or change what they're allowed to do at any time.

    Court order or Power of Attorney

    If your agent has been appointed by a court order, the court determines what they can and cannot do on your behalf. The court can also cancel or change this at any time.

    If your agent holds an Enduring Power of Attorney, they will have authority over your affairs. They are also able to cancel or change this at any time.

  • How to appoint an agent

    You can verbally agree for someone to act on your behalf when you meet with us or call us, which will only last for that meeting.

    If you want someone to be your agent for longer, you'll need to fill out an 'Appointment of Agent' form. You can use the form below or you can have one sent to you by calling 0800 559 009. This will:

    • name you and your agent
    • show exactly what rights and responsibilities you want your agent to have
    • be signed by both you and your agent.

    Your agent will also need to show us proof of their identity.

    Paying your benefit to an agent

    If you want your payments to go to your agent, you'll also need to fill in a 'Redirection of benefit payment' form with them.

    • why you need your payments to go to your agent
    • what other ways you've tried to organise your payments
    • how much of your payments you want to go to your agent.

    Your agent will need to show us proof of their bank account details, eg a bank statement or a deposit slip.

  • When an agent is appointed for you

    Someone appointed by a court

    In some cases a court may appoint someone to help make decisions for you, eg if you cannot act for yourself. The court order will state what rights and responsibilities they have.

    If the court has appointed someone to help you, you cannot change or cancel their authorisation. Only the court can do that.

    Power of attorney

    If someone has your power of attorney, or enduring power of attorney, they can act as your agent.

    You can change or cancel someone's power of attorney but not someone's enduring power of attorney.

    Agent appointed without your agreement

    In exceptional circumstances, we may allow someone to act as your agent without any legal document. This might be if you're in a coma and need help from us and there isn't time to get a court order.

    We would normally need proof that you cannot act for yourself temporarily, eg a medical certificate.

    In these cases we'll always act in the best interests of our clients.

  • Change or remove an agent

    If you want to change or remove your agent, you can contact us and let us know. You should also tell your agent what changes you've made.

  • Find an agent or advocate to help you

    You may want support but do not have someone to be your agent, or may want someone with more experience to help you.

    There are advocate groups who may be able to help you with an independent advocate who has experience in dealing with us.

    A good advocate can:

    • help you if you don't understand or disagree with a decision we made
    • work with us to make sure you get all the support you're entitled to
    • help explain your situation in meetings with us or in a review or appeal process.

    You can find an advocate through a Citizens Advice Bureau or Community Law.