My sister is arguing about the care allowance Mum pays me

Hi. My name is Sue. Since my Father died in June 2017, I have been caring for my Mum who has Parkinsons. As my sister works and I am unable to.I am self-employed;I run a small printing business with my partner Frank.However,business is not great at present,so our source of income is greatly affected.As Mum needs care,and is reluctant to pay for outside sources for help,it has been agreed as a family unit that, as I am available, and our finances are restricted,that Mum pays me to care for her.We have agreed a fair amount-£5,000-£5,500-every six months in addition to my Carer’s Allowance.However, since the last payment in March 2019,my sister has become VERY agressive and abusive and has accused me of ‘cheating’ Mum,which is definitely NOT the case! I know that money is a difficult subject with many families,but this situation is very unfair and unreasonable especially as I and my partner put in a LOT of time and effort whereas my sister only does a few errands a week-about 10 hours compared with our 60 plus! Although we appreciate her situation and frustrations(we get frustrated too,but NEVER display these emotions!)we all feel that her behaviour is VERY unacceptable. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if they could offer me some guidance.

Hi Sue.

One aspect of your situation as so outlined caught my attention.

Monies paid by your mother in respect of care provided by you.

I presume on an informal basis and NOT through any form of employment contract ?

Said monies being declared as income for the benefit of HM Revenue and Customs ?

( Amount noted … almost the £ 120 weekly limit if one was an employee … coincidence ? )

Any income related benefits currently beng claimed by you and your husband ?

When it comes to finances , NOTHING is ever straightforward in CarerLand.

Remind your sister that if mum is seriously disabled in need of nursing care, it would cost mum about £1,000 a week!! So what you receive is a very modest sum in comparison and by doing this, rather than going down the nursing home route, it means that you are protecting HER share of any inheritance.
Be sure to take note of Chris’s comments, make sure it is all legally accounted for. If mum ends up with no alternative to residential care in future, you will need to account for the money properly, and declare it for tax purposes etc.

Sue, this sounds so difficult and complicated emotionally. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t looked after someone like you are doing has any idea the hard work it entails. Do you or your sister have power of attorney for your mother? I just wonder if this might help (or potentially might be rather difficult to set up with your sister being so suspicious and critical).
I guess you could always suggest that your sister take over your role and see what it is like! Perhaps she is a bit jealous…

Hi Sue, It sounds like you and your partner are doing a very good job looking after your mum. I agree with bowlingbun regarding the issue about the amount you’re being paid. If your mum was in a nursing home it would certainly cost a lot more than £5000 every 6 months. Plus your mum obviously prefers you caring for her rather than outside carers. I wonder how much your sister thinks you should be paid?
Remind your sister that you both work Christmas and Boxing day, all the bank holidays. Can you and your partner have a holiday together?
Basically you and your partner are putting your lives on hold while you care for your mum.
My advice is to just ignore your sister - she has no idea what it’s like for you.
I’m glad you’ve got the support of your partner.

It might be worth getting Mum to put her wishes in a letter to both you and sister. In it she can say when this started.
better still is getting a solicitor to draft it so an independent person meets mum, Better still would be her putting it all in a power of attorney, assuming she has mental capacity to make these decisions.

Families, even loving one’s can and do fall out over money, so just make sure you are protected in case sister should ever try to make safeguarding case against you

My mum used a solicitor when she rewrote her will.

The solicitor asked me to go out into the garden (I was in the kitchen doing some washing up) when she discussed the contents of the will with mum, just to make 110% certain that no one could accuse me of influencing the contents of the will.

Later, after she died, my brother challenged the will. The solicitor politely told him where to go.

Using a solicitor is often a really good way of safeguarding things.

If your mother is paying you £5,000 every 6 months, that is quite a bit more than the £120 a week that you can earn and still claim Carer’s allowance. I know that for the hours you are working for your mum, what you are being paid is not a lot, but I wonder if there is another way around your situation?

Yep … definately a case of crossing every " T " with all Government agencies … especially the TaxMan and DoleMan.

Add your local LA to those IF a potential move into residential / nursing care is on the cards … deprivation of assets ?

One can never be too cautious when it comes to finances and caring.

Mum can GIVE you £3,000 a year, tax free. Might be worth doing that separately.