Claimant in Coma!

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    Never come across a case like this before and need some advice!

    Lady rang to tell us that her father had been injured and was in a coma. As a result, he was not getting any further wages and so has no income.

    Obviously claimant can’t sign a claim form but his daughter has completed one on his behalf.

    The gentleman pays ground rent for his mobile home and his landlord is well known for not tolerating any missed payments of rent.

    We are concerned about both paying the claim and the consequences of not paying. As the claimants condition, is by it’s very nature, indeterminate and we don’t know if he will be returning to the property within 13 months?

    Any comments as to how to proceed with this?

    Kevin D

    This is a response that won’t be terribly welcome.

    The first hurdle is whether or not a claim has been made. Based on the info given, I don’t think there is a claim at this time.

    Unless the daughter, or a/n/ other, is (or becomes) either an attorney, or an appointee (specifically in accordance with [b:63ea5d94f8]HBR 82[/b:63ea5d94f8]), the form you currently have doesn’t count as a claim.

    With regard to the length of absence, I think the only way in which this can be assessed is through medical evidence / information about the clmt’s prospects. It’s probably safe to conclude that the clmt will have an intention to return, BUT, the intention has to be realistic.

    So, if the medical opinion is that the clmt will survive AND return home within 52 weeks (or not substantially exceeding etc), HB/CTB is payable (assuming the “claim” hurdle can be overcome). But, if opinion is that the clmt is unlikely to return (on the balance of probability), then no HB/CTB is payable.

    Hope this helps.

    Andy Thurman


    Firstly, Reg 82(3) allows you to accept the claim. 😉

    With regards the temp absence, unless there is unequivocal medical evidence to contradict, I’d be inclined to say the absence is unlikely to exceed 52 weeks, the intention to return is implicit & so I’d be happy to pay.

    ….added having seen Kevin’s response – 82(3) allows the LA to accept someone as acting on the claimant’s behalf.

    Kevin D

    Hi Andy,

    In my view, HBR 82(3) only allows someone to act on behalf of the clmt if they become a formal appointee. I don’t think that HBR 82(3) allows an informal “acting on behalf of”.

    The potential appointee has to first apply, in writing, to become an appointee, and then the LA has to decide whether to make that appointment.


    Thanks very much for your replies.

    Having checked Reg 82, I will write to the daughter to ask her to confirm in writing that she wants to be considered acting for her father.

    Do I need her to get her to sign the claim form? I suppose with signatures being considered out of date by by the DWP, no auditor would pick me up on an unsigned form if I have the letter from the daughter.

    Really pleased that I will be able to pay this claim as the landlord is notoriously nasty and I would hate this guy to have nowhere to come home to if he should recover and become able to live alone again.

    However, if the claimant’s condition should be such that he is not likely to be able to return to the property, does the fact that he might still feel able to but the medical professionals don’t mean that the intention is still there and we can pay under the temp absence rule. I think what I’m trying to say is when does the ‘intention’ become unrealistic?

    Kevin D

    While a signature might be ideal on the claim form, it isn’t a strict legal requirement – irrespective of whether it’s the clmt or a formal appointee. So, no problem (legally) there.

    With regard to “intention” being “realistic”, CSHB/0405/2005 gives a flavour (para 30).

    In short, if a clmt wants to return, but it isn’t realistic, the clmt cannot be said to have an intention for the purposes of the temporary absence rules.

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