From the age of 16, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) will usually go directly to the young person. If they claim Universal Credit or any other benefits in their own right as an adult, this will usually be paid to them rather than to the parent carer.

The only exception to this is if the young person lacks the mental capacity to manage their own affairs or if they are severely disabled. If this is the case, a friend or relative or an organisation or representative of an organisation, may be able to review and manage benefits for them by acting as their appointee.

Becoming an appointee means that the office paying the benefit gives the appointee the responsibility to make claims on the young persons behalf and manage any benefit payments they get. Becoming an appointee only gives the appointee the power to manage the indivduals benefits. It does not give any wider rights to deal with the individuals affairs.

Read more about becoming an appointee for someone claiming benefits.

Power of attorney

If you are granted a power of attorney, you can act and access information on another person's behalf. The person granting the power of attorney has to have the mental capacity to understand the implications of what they are doing and the power will only come into effect in specific circumstances for an ordinary power of attorney; or if the person loses their mental capacity, to make certain types of decisions for a lasting power of attorney.


If a person does not have the mental capacity to grant a power of attorney, the Court of Protection can appoint a deputy to make decisions and recieve information about a person on their behalf.

Further information about deputies.

Mental capacity

Mental capacity means the ability to make or communicate specific decisions at the time they need to be made. To have mental capacity you must understand the decision you need to make, why you need to make it and the likely outcome of your decision.

These could be decisions about finances or health and care.

Some people will be able to make decisions about some things but not others. Their ability to make decisions may also fluctuate.

Further information about mental capacity and making decisions on behalf of someone else.

Watch a video about the mental capacity act.

The Ministry of Justice have produced a toolkit which provides guidance for parents and carers to make financial decisions for a young person who lacks mental capacity. View the toolkit here.