Please help, my mums finances - fraud?

I live with my mum and dad and i care for my mum as she has advanced MS. She is unable to care for herself or communicate or understand things. Confined to a hospital bed for around 5 years now.

Before she was sick i took care of her online banking - just signing in, transferring money between her/mine/my dads account to pay for various things. It was just handier to do this rather than her having to go to a branch and she had no problem with this and asked me to do this. We did this for about 5/6 years before she got sick.

Since she has been sick we’ve continued to do that, using her account to pay for rent/groceries/electric/household expenses as we always have done. My mother has no assets and just a state pension and DLA, no overdraft, credit cards or any debt. Her account is a basic debit one. We have never opened an another account in her name or used her name for any other service.

The bank (Halifax) changed some security settings and i input the wrong information when trying to top up the electric last week and it appears the account has been blocked by the fraud team for this. I’ve had this happen on my account before when i was putting through a larger than normal payment so i knew i had to contact them to unblock it.

I called them and they basically said they cannot help as i am not authorised on the account and what we’ve been doing while it hasn’t been illegal we have been using the account wrongly so they cannot help us unless i was able to take my mum into a branch. She is immobile and cannot talk or understand anything complex outside of basic needs so that is not an option. Like she can tell you if she is hungry/thirsty or if she is enjoying her food/tv show or if she doesn’t like it, but at the same time if the bed was on fire and you asked her if she wanted the fire put out she would say no…

We’d need to get a “controllership” (Northern Ireland). From reading it costs around £500 to get this and we cannot afford that. My dad just gets a pension and i get UC and CA. Also my dad would need a character reference from someone who has known him for at least two years, looking at the list of occupations - there is no one he knows that falls into that category as doctors will not provide character references. It also asks for a medical certificate, a doctor has not been to see my mum in years, just district nurses. Even when she has been sick they won’t come out and just call or send the nurse so while they’re aware of how disabled she is, none of them have seen her.

I don’t know what to do, from what i understand that process takes a long time but our rent has to be paid this week. On top of that my dad is angry that i didn’t just call the bank and pretend to be my mum to answer the security questions. I am 33, my mum is 71… I know this is something we should have done before but it was working and trying to convince my father to change anything to do with finances is a nightmare because he doesn’t trust that banks or whoever won’t just close the account or make the situation worse so he just prefers to avoid them at all costs.

Is how we have been using her account fraud?
Will he report us to anyone?

I feel sick thinking of this, i love my mum and would never steal from her or anything like that.

No it’s not fraud. You were managing the account with mum’s permission, before she was so ill.

I also had problems with my mum’s account with the Halifax not understanding exactly what “housebound” meant. I explained that even the ambulancemen had difficulty getting her in and out of the house.
Finally, grudgingly, the manager from the branch went to see mum and suggested we had a joint account, and that worked well for us.
Your problem is slightly more difficult. You need to ask DWP to become their “appointee” which doesn’t cost anything, and enables you to manage all mum’s benefits. I’m assuming that DWP work the same way in Ireland.

In the UK, the NHS has a scheme called NHS Continuing Healthcare. If you are in Northern Ireland, have you asked your GP to do an assessment for this?

Hi Jen

I wanted to wish you a warm welcome to the forum and to highlight some of the options for connecting with fellow carers, some of which may have direct experience of some of the challenges you mention.

Carers UK are running online weekly meet ups for carers to take some time for themselves and chat to other carers. Feel free to join if you’d like to and there’s no pressure to share anything you don’t want to.

You can find information on how to register to our online meetups at the following pages:

Care for a Cuppa: Online meetups | Carers UK - the next online meet up is Monday 1 June (11-12pm). This social is a great way to have a little break if you are able to and spend some quality time talking to people who understand what you are going through right now.

Share and Learn: Share and Learn | Carers UK - these sessions range from creative writing activities to beginners Latin dance sessions.

There is also Carers UK’s helpline should you need advice or support - Our Telephone Helpline is available on 0808 808 7777 from Monday to Friday, 9am – 6pm or you can contact us by email (

Carers UK also provide information and guidance to unpaid carers. This covers a range of subjects including:

Benefits and financial support
Your rights as a carer in the workplace
Carers’ assessments and how to get support in your caring role
Services available to carers and the people you care for
How to complain effectively and challenge decisions.

Thanks for your reply.

I told my dad about that appointee thing but he is refusing to set it up, as he wants my mum to keep her bank account (for some sentimental reason/not take it away from her etc) and also he doesn’t want to contact the DWP in case they suddenly decide to do a review and strip my mum of her benefits. I told him how unlikely that is but his stubbornness and mistrust is a lifelong issue, so he can find the money for the controllership if he wants because i have no ideas left.

We had the whole care assessment thing done, had 2 carers coming 4 times per day for a few years for personal care until covid, sent them away last March and me and my dad took over, and solely me from December. We were already feeding her all her meals so it wasn’t much of a change for us.

If that is the case, the council can pay mum “direct payments” which can be paid to you. Was this offered??

Dad sounds a real stick in the mud, quite honestly. How old is he? Always been like this?

But YOU can apply to be appointee. It’s not a reassessment of entitlement at all. Maybe get the form and look at it yourself.